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Wozniacki survives history lesson


 

Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:36

Caroline Wozniacki got a free lesson in early-nineties spin-free tennis in her first round encounter against Kimiko Date Krumm, eventually prevailing 5-7 6-3 6-1.

Under perfect blue skies on Court 2, the No.9 seed got off to the perfect start early on, breaking Date at the first opportunity. But it wasnt long before the Japanese wild card was into her rhythm and began causing the Dane problems with her flat forehand and heavily sliced backhand.

The constant feed of slow balls disarmed Wozniackis dangerous groundstrokes, with the ball often too low for the world No.9 to play her usual game. With the teenager struggling to work her 38-year-old opponent out, Dates court craft came to the fore, as she frustrated her opponent to distraction and nicked the first set 7-5.

She was playing really flat, and I really had to get under the ball a lot”

The Japanese veteran, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist who first played at SW19 a year before Wozniacki was born, has a compact style on court, hitting strokes with very little take-back and moving economically, and often read her 18-year-old opponent at will.

In contrast Wozniackis game reflects the new era of womens tennis. She is a powerful baseliner, tall and athletic with a killer first serve. But with so little variation at the top of the womens game, Date provided a new examination of the Danes mental strength and in time Wozniacki met the challenge.

Both women traded breaks early after having made nervous starts to the second set, but under the mid-afternoon sun Wozniacki played her way back into the match as Date wilted. Having trailed 3-1, the Eastbourne champion reeled off nine of the next ten games to see off a tricky encounter.

I knew kind of what to expect from her, and I knew that she’s been doing good on grass before, Wozniacki admitted afterwards. The game is just different from what I am used to.

She was playing really flat, and I really had to get under the ball a lot. She took advantage of that when I was playing short and came to the net and was playing well.

Next up for the No.9 seed will be Maria Kirilenko, who beat Petra Kvitkova 6-4 6-4.

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