This round last year, Caroline Wozniacki escaped from 5-1 and two match points down against unheralded Jana Fett, a miraculous escape that powered her run to the title. It was a much more drama-free passage Wednesday, the defending champion easing into the third round with a 6-1 6-3 win over Johanna Larsson in Margaret Court Arena.
Wozniacki began with a 0-30 deficit on serve then swept 12 straight points to lead 3-0. By the third game, No.77 Larsson was already swatting a ball in frustration. She fell behind 5-1 with a double-fault on breakpoint and the Dane swooped on the first set 6-1 in 27 minutes.
Wozniacki served strongly and returned with surgical precision, making 97 per cent of returns, compared to Larsson’s 67.
The Swede stiffened her resistance in the second, venturing forward a little more and threatening to level for 4-all. But two chances went begging and she was broken for the match, Wozniacki threading a backhand winner down the line on match point.
If drama was lacking, there was at least a new career stat for Wozniacki: her first Swedish opponent in her 159th Grand Slam match. But this was no Nordic thriller, with the Swede always shaping as a comfortable fit for the metronomic Dane.
Better known as a doubles exponent – with 13 career doubles compared to two in singles – Larsson could not pressure Wozniacki sufficiently from the forecourt, nor dictate from the baseline. That’s not a good match-up against someone who can move an opponent around like Wozniacki.
Next for Wozniacki is a blockbuster third round against former champion and No.30 seed Maria Sharapova or another Swede, Rebecca Peterson