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Wozniacki Starts Australian Open Title Defense With Straight-Set Win Over Van Uytvanck

Tanuja Saikhom | 5 months ago

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki kicked off her 2019 Australian Open campaign with an emotional 6-3 6-4 victory against Belgian Alison van Uytvanck on Monday.

The 28-year-old Dane, who was diagnosed with arthritis in August, needed one hour and 33 minutes to finish the match at Rod Laver Arena. 

In the first set, World No 52 Belgian defended three break points in the sixth game but conceded a fourth with a double fault. Wozniacki also wasted two match points, but she contented herself to wrap up the match.

Wozniacki claimed her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne last year before diagnosing with an auto-immune disease that could wreck her career. She has only one first-round exit in the tournament on her record in 11 past appearances.

The World No 3, after the match said she had a special feeling and loved playing back in the tournament. 

"I'm going to start crying and I never cry," an emotion-filled Wozniacki said.

She has been looking to defend the title, which will make her the first woman player to do so since Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

In another match, World No 2 Angelique Kerber defeated Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-2, 6-2 to move into the second round, while American Danielle Collins overcame German 14th seed Julia Gorges 7-6, (7-5), 6-4.