Caroline Wozniacki could hardly begin her Wimbledon Fortnight with a more dominating start, easing to victory over Spain's Estrella Cabeza Candela.
The Danish No.9 seed and former world No. 1 rushed to a 4-0 lead, putting her defensive, counter-punching style to good use from the start and ended up a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
Throughout the first set, Wozniacki illustrated more of the form that has taken her to the loftiest heights in tennis and brought her to the sport’s biggest stages. With signature pinpoint accuracy and retrieving ability, Wozniacki forced her No. 101-ranked opponent to dump a shot into the net to clinch the first set in just 20 minutes.
Talking about the conditions, Wozniacki said, “I found them quite slow actually, I have to say. I think the practice courts are a little bit faster than that court,” she said.
Regardless, the Dane praised her first round performance and the atmosphere. “But, yeah, I mean, it was good to play. No wind. A little cloudy,” she added. “Perfect to play tennis in really.”
In the second set, there was much more competition between the two players. Instead of withering under the pressure of having to perform well enough to grab a game, Cabeza Candela started to hit more freely and shake off the nerves by securing a break point on the Dane’s serve right away. It wouldn’t be enough to consolidate, however, as she’d dump a backhand into the net, strike a forehand wide and another long to give Wozniacki, a 20-time WTA Tour title winner, the first game.
A forehand winner from midcourt minutes later, however, momentarily turned the tide for the Spaniard as she got on board for the first time in 30 minutes to a roar of applause from the crowd for 1-1.
Hardly rattled, Wozniacki took the next two games to secure the 3-1 lead, following up with the form that saw her reach the semi-finals at Eastbourne, a warm-up event to The Championships.
In one of the most competitive games on Wozniacki’s serve, the players traded a number of blows at deuce. The Dane however, produced a forehand winner to take the advantage, which Candela Cabeza then erased. The game would continue for over six minutes, with the Spaniard eventually grinding out the points reminiscent of her clay court pedigree. She secured the break to lengthen the set 2-3.
Wozniacki though, proved too solid in the end. She fought to take two more consecutive games for a 5-2 lead, doing everything better than the Spaniard.
In what would be the final game, Cabeza Candela struck one too many errors, while Wozniacki used variety and retrieval techniques to more success.
Although at one point the Dane would fall to the ground after slipping, she was the one to pump her fist in the air and smile in celebration at the match’s conclusion.
Overall, Wozniacki struck just seven unforced errors to her opponent’s 18, to claim the match and secure a spot into the second round.
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