Sweet win for Caroline Wozniacki in first round of the U.S. Open
Caroline Wozniacki has the effervescence of a newly opened bottle of champagne. Her personality pops and her optimism is positively bubbly.
She got through a tricky U.S. Open first-round match at windy Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday, beating Ying-Ying Duan of China, 6-2, 7-5. She felt good about her ability to fight the elements and a powerful opponent, and coming back from a break down in the second set to win.
Wozniacki exudes confidence and she has a career to back it up with 20 tour titles. She has reached No. 1 in the world and twice won six tournaments in a year.
What she doesn't have on an otherwise stellar resume is a major singles title. Only once has she reached a Grand Slam final, and that was at the Open in 2009 when she lost to Kim Clijsters.
But the woman who earned the nickname "Sunshine" is just 23, and she's got time, plenty of time to nail down that first major.
"You know, there is always so many people that are so smart, and, you know, they say, 'You'll never make it, or just forget about it, it's too late,' " Wozniacki said Tuesday. "The thing is, nothing is never too late and nothing is impossible. I love proving people wrong, and I love what I do."
This hasn't been the most productive season, and she hasn't won since the fall of 2012. She has reached one final this year, losing to Maria Sharapova at Indian Wells.
She wasn't overly convincing against Duan yesterday, but what pleased her most was fighting through the heavy gusts and Duan's heavy forehand.
"It was difficult out there because there was a lot of wind. Against the wind, you are in trouble and with the wind, you're a bit in trouble," Wozniacki said. "I just kept my focus and kept fighting for every point . . . I think everyone that you ask today would just say it was a day of survival and a day to get through. It's not about being pretty. It's about getting the job done. I did that."
Sitting in her friends box was boyfriend Rory McIlroy, the pro golfer who knows a little about getting the job done with two major championships. He also knows a little about pressure and about keeping a positive outlook when things start to go awry.
When Wozniacki's match ended, it was McIlroy who was signing autographs first, getting pictures taken with the fans, handling their demands with his customary gentlemanly manner. He said that watching his girlfriend play is exciting but doesn't get him worked up.
"I don't stress about it, really," McIlroy said as he walked through an Ashe concourse with a trail of fans behind him. "I'm pretty laid back about it. I just enjoy watching her play."
That joy of competition keeps Wozniacki primed for a Grand Slam run.
"I live the life I have always dreamed of, and I have a passion and I have something to wake up for every morning," Wozniacki said. "This is fun."