Top Seeds shine at the ASB Classic
The top seeds at the ASB Classic showed their class on a bumper day of first-round action.
Serena Williams made a winning start to her season in singles with a solid 6-3 6-2 victory against Italian Camilla Giorgi. The 99th ranked Giorgi qualified for the main draw this year and made a strong start earning an early break point opportunity as both players held tough in their service games. However, it was the 38-year old Williams who secured the only break of the set to take it 6-3.
From that point on Williams gained the upper hand shaking off the rust to break Giorgi twice in the second set before serving two aces in a row to grab a decisive win.
Williams says her first round doubles win alongside Caroline Wozniacki helped to sharpen her serve as she looks to find form ahead of the year’s first grand slam.
“I’ve had a long-time off tournaments and match play so I thought I did pretty good – it’s a great start to build on.”
Amanda Anisimova made a winning start to 2020 in her second visit to the ASB Classic. The big hitting teen quickly found her stride in a 6-3 6-4 win over Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine.
Anisimova secured a break at 3-1 and it was enough for her to take the first set 6-3. Kozlova put a good fight in the second set but Anismova’s ability to produce effortless winners – especially of the backhand wing was too much as she broke at 4-4 in the second set and served out the match.
Anisimova says she is happy with how she started the year and to see her off-season work paying off.
She says she reigned in her big-strokes to adapt to the blustery conditions on centre court.
“I can’t really go for the shots I normally go for because they’re pretty risky, so I just tried to stay more consistent.”
Caroline Wozniacki made quick work of her opponent Kiwi wild-card Paige Hourigan in a 6-1 6-0 win. The gulf of experience was on show as the former world No. 1 was too sharp and consistent for Hourigan who was making her debut in the singles main draw of a WTA event.
Wozniacki lost only 14 points in the match as Hourigan struggled to find her rhythm in front of her home crowd.
“She was probably nervous as well going out there playing against me on centre court."
Wozniacki sent down five aces including on match point and lost only two points on serve throughout the match.
“It’s hard to go out there and play free - I just tried to do the best that I could for the first singles match of the season.”
The Danish player who spent 71 weeks at number one will next face 2017 ASB Classic champion Lauren Davis.
Two-time defending champ Julia Goerges of Germany kept her winning streak alive at the tournament defeating Greet Minnen of Belgium 6-1 7-6 (4). The world No. 28 raced through the first set – dominating with her trademark forehand and hitting five aces to win 6-1. However, in the second set it was the Belgian qualifier who found her groove on serve and marched out to a 5-2 lead. Two set points came and went for Minnen but Goerges came through the tight second set tussle in a tiebreak to win her 11th straight match in Auckland.
Croatian second seed Petra Martic had to fight hard in her first-round match – coming back to defeat American lucky loser Usue Maitane Arconada 5-7 6-4 6-4. The 15th ranked player led 5-1 in the third set and had to hold back a spirited comeback from the 135th ranked American to move through to the next round.