Wozniacki cools off Glushko Down Under

World No. 8 hands surging Israeli humbling defeat in Grand Slam tuneup, Serena upset in Perth

Julia Glushko broke Caroline Wozniacki’s serve twice during yesterday’s first-round match at the Auckland Classic in New Zealand, (photo credit: NIR KEIDAR/ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Julia Glushko broke Caroline Wozniacki’s serve twice during yesterday’s first-round match at the Auckland Classic in New Zealand,
Despite a straight-set exit in the first round of the Auckland Classic in New Zealand on Tuesday, Julia Glushko says she is ready for the year’s first Grand Slam event.
Glushko, ranked No. 154 in the world, came through three rounds of qualifiers to reach the main draw in Auckland, but was always going to have a difficult time against world No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki and ultimately dropped to a 6-3, 6-2 defeat to the top seed in 69 minutes.
Wozniacki was playing her first match of 2015 after ending last year on a high, going all the way to the final of the US Open before reaching the semifinals of the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Wozniacki raced to a 5-0 first-set lead on Tuesday, but Glushko reeled off the next three games, only to lose the set in the subsequent game. The Israeli dropped her serve once more in the first game of the second set, and despite breaking right back, couldn’t build any momentum and Wozniacki secured her progress on her fourth match point.
“I’m pleased with the tournament in Auckland,” said Glushko. “I lost to a player who is among the world’s best, but I had some good moments in the match and displayed tennis which was just as good as my rival’s.”
Glushko is in a confident mood entering the Australian Open qualifiers in Melbourne next week.
“I recorded three wins in Auckland and I feel ready for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne,” she said. “My goal there is to first advance through three rounds of qualifiers and reach the main draw.”
Wozniacki’s performance wasn’t convincing, but she undoubtedly shook out any cobwebs and set up a second round clash with American teenager Taylor Townsend, who beat 2010 Auckland champion Yanina Wickmayer on Monday.
“It maybe wasn’t the prettiest match, but I got through it and I won it,” Wozniacki said afterwards.
“It’s always tough the first match of the season, you just want to get going and into the groove. But I’m happy to be through and getting another chance to play out there.”
Also Tuesday, Venus Williams cruised into the second round, while two Grand Slam champions were packing their bags and heading across the Tasman Sea to continue their Australian Open preparations with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone bundled out in the first round.
Fifth seeded Kuznetsova, a US Open and French Open champion, was beaten by Lucie Hradecka 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in a marathon two hour, 25 minute match on center court while 2010 French Open champion Schiavone was defeated 6-4, 7-5 by Urszula Radwanska.
Williams was imperious in her 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Slovakia’s Jana Cepelova.
“Usually when you win easily everything is going right, Williams told reporters of her 52-minute match in which she broke Cepelova five times.
“I would like to play as many matches as possible and thankfully I felt pretty comfortable on the court so that’s a plus.”
Elsewhere, Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard swatted aside an out-of-sorts Serena Williams 6-2, 6-1 at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Tuesday.
The American world No. 1’s body language throughout the contest suggested she would rather have been anywhere else than on the blue hard-courts in Western Australia.
An on-court espresso helped spark her into life as she overcame a first set bagel to beat Italy’s Flavia Pennetta 0-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Monday in the round-robin mixed team event, but nothing could help bring her out of Tuesday’s malaise.
Sluggish footwork and uncharacteristically slow serves allowed Bouchard to break the 33-year-old with ease as the Canadian bounced back from a 6-0, 6-4 thrashing by Czech Lucie Safarova in her opener.
Williams, who did not call the trainer to court on Tuesday, showed flashes of her usual brilliance against Bouchard as she went for her shots but never had the consistency, or the fight, to beat the Canadian.
Whether it was jet-lag, illness or something else, Bouchard did not care as she notched a first win over the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion in the warm-up event for the year’s first major.
Reuters contributed to this report.