Slow and steady Wozniacki gathers pace at Qatar Total Open

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark returns to Ana Konjuh of Croatia during her first round match at the WTA Qatar Total OpenDoha: As is customary to major tennis events the less fancied ones are blooded against the favoured or the ranked professionals in the initial days. Monday was such a day at the Qatar Total Open.

The second day of the of the $2,818,000 seven-day premier WTA event, witnessed such a phenomenon. Of course, there always are a few blips here and there when the seeded players flounder and even bite dust – that given the nature of the sport that seems to bulking up on muscle and aggression, women’s tennis included.

Caroline Wozniacki, the 13th seeded Danish player was stretched by qualifier Ana Konjuh of Croatia. Fortunately, for Wozniacki, she was stretched but not broken as she endured a first set scare and difficult third set to enter the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.

The 25-year old, former World No. 1, may have been a bit rusty on the day, but then she’s just coming out from a keen injury, that had kept her at bay even as her rivals were making hay at the recently concluded Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

However in such situations, senior professional like Wozniacki, often use experience to their advantage. They let go the taxing points, but grab the ones that count.

On Monday, Wozniacki used the same strategy, letting go the first three games to Konjuh in the first set to go down 0-3. She did try to make amends, breaking her opponent in the next and retaining her service later, but that didn’t help much as Wozniacki went down 4-6.

The second set proved to be a cakewalk for the Danish player. She just had to break Konjuh once during the second game and rest was mundane. The result: 6-3.

The final set had all the drama, breaks and counter breaks followed. But Wozniacki had the last laugh. She broke Konjuh in the 11th game and then retained her service in the next to emerge triumphant with 7-5 margin.

Later Wozniacki did admit to the fact that she made a slow start.

“Well, it’s nice to get through. It wasn’t really pretty out there, but a win is a win. And being able to win even if you don't play or best is better than to lose when you play great. So I'm going to take it.”

“Yeah, she started off much better. I started off really poorly. Just really needed to get myself going,” she added.

“Then I started playing much better in the second set and had a few games there where I felt like my old self. Then it kind of went a bit up and down after that. So definitely (I am) going to try to get a better start tomorrow.”

Day 2, first round results:

[9] Roberta Vinci (ITA) bt Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-2, 6-1
[13] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Ana Konjuh (CRO) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Elena Vesnina (RUS) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-3, 7-5
[16] Sara Errani (ITA) bt Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 1-6, 7-5, 6-3
Barbora strycova (CZE) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 6-3, 6-4
Denisa Allertova (CZE) bt [15] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 7-5, 6-4
Monica Niculescu (ROU) bt Sabine Lisicki (GER) 6-2, 6-2
[11] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 6-7, 6-1, 6-3
Daria Gavrilova (AUS) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-1, 6-1
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-5, 6 - 2
Timea Babos (HUN) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-0
Nao Hibino (JPN) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-3, 6-7, 6-3


C Chan / K Marosi (TPE / HUN) bt L Kichenok / N Kichenok (UKR / UKR) 6-2, 6-4
[8] A Klepac / K Srebotnik (SLO / SLO) bt S Halep / R Olaru (ROU / ROU) 7-5, 6-4
D Kasatkina / E Vesnina (RUS / RUS) bt V Dushevina / K Siniakova (RUS / CZE) 6-4, 7-5