Wozniacki makes winning start to Australian Open title defence

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal pose for photos after Australian Open final

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki is through to round two at the Australian Open after a straight-sets win over Alison van Uytvanck.

Caroline Wozniacki made a confident start to her Australian Open title defence with a 6-3 6-4 first-round victory over Alison Van Uytvanck.

In her first grand slam since announcing her rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, the third seed produced moments of top quality at crucial moments to see off her Belgian opponent on Rod Laver Arena.

A single break in either set was enough to put the Dane through, Van Uytvanck unable to cope with the regular pressure applied to her serve.

Wozniacki will meet Johanna Larsson in round two after Vera Lapko retired midway through the second set of their opening match in Melbourne.

After surviving an early break point in the opening game, Wozniacki took control of the first set in the sixth, piling the pressure on Van Uytvanck.

A tremendous forehand down the line on the run from Wozniacki brought a third break opportunity, but she was unable to convert as the Belgian produced a stunning backhand of her own.

However, a double fault handed the third seed a 4-2 lead and the defending champion never looked back.

A 96mph serve preceded an unforced error from Van Uytanck as she sealed the set inside 50 minutes.

Van Uytvanck’s competitiveness continued in the second set but at the key points in rallies it was Wozniacki who held the upper hand, her piercing groundstrokes too good for the Belgian.

The decisive break came earlier than in the opening set as Van Uytvanck was immediately forced on the defensive, letting a 40-15 lead slip as Wozniacki turned the screw.

Having got back to deuce and fended off another game point, the Dane showed superb defence on the baseline and when the opportunity presented itself she counter-attacked with style – a crisp forehand down the line giving her the break chance.

Another Van Uytvanck error gave her a 2-1 lead and that was quickly consolidated as Wozniacki eased into round two.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Wozniacki [3] bt Van Uytvanck 6-3 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Wozniacki – 21/16
Van Uytvanck – 25/34

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Wozniacki – 4/0
Van Uytvanck – 7/2

BREAK POINTS WON
Wozniacki – 2/7
Van Uytvanck – 0/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Wozniacki – 63
Van Uytvanck – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Wozniacki – 68/78
Van Uytvanck – 67/46

TOTAL POINTS
Wozniacki – 73
Van Uytvanck – 59

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