Caroline Wozniacki is grateful there is no Rafael Nadal on the women’s tour to sweep all the clay titles and she hopes she can make use of that and find success on her least favourite surface this season.
Only four of Wozniacki’s 28 titles have come on clay but the world No. 2 had a decent campaign on the dirt last year, making the quarter-finals at the French Open and Charleston.
This week in Madrid, the Australian Open champion is seeded No. 2 and she begins her tournament against Australia’s Daria Gavrilova.
“It’s a love-hate relationship I would say,” Wozniacki says of her relationship with clay.
“Some days I really like it and I think it’s fine and some days I really don’t like it. I’m just trying to keep a positive mindset going into this clay season and work on a few things. As you get older you get more experience and you kind of know more what to do out there and I’m just trying to take advantage of that.”
The 27-year-old had a good run in Madrid in 2009, reaching the final before losing to Dinara Safina but has made it past the third round just once since then.
“I think I always believe in myself and I think that the great thing for me is that I don’t think that there’s one player that is a clay-court specialist. It’s not like we have a Rafa on the women’s tour that you just know, you play him and you may as well just go home,” said Wozniacki, referring to Nadal’s incredible dominance on the surface.
“I think that’s the great thing. I think it’s really open, especially on the clay, and I think anyone could win and that’s why I’ll try and take advantage of that.”
Day one of the women’s action at the Caja Magica on Saturday saw fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina ease past Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2 to make the second round. The Ukrainian has never made it past round two in Madrid and she’ll be looking to change that in her next match against either Carla Suarez Navarro or Barbora Strycova.
Seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia eased past former runner-up Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 7-5 while Stuttgart champion Karolina Pliskova extended her winning streak to six matches with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Russia’s Elena Vesnina.
Her twin sister Kristyna also had a good day, securing a place in the main draw with a qualifying victory over Ana Bogdan 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
“For our family, for our father and mother, it’s amazing. There are not many days like this,” a laughing Karolina told a small group of reporters, as per WTA Insider. “It’s always one won, one lost, so at half. So when both win, they’re very happy.”
Eighth-seeded Venus Williams fell to Estonian Anett Kontaveit 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, to become the highest seeded player to crash out on opening day.
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