DUBAI, UAE - No.10 seed and 2011 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winner Caroline Wozniacki kept up her Middle East momentum on Monday, moving past rising Russian Daria Kasatkina, 6-2, 7-5 to advance into the second round.
"I knew it was going to be a tough match," Wozniacki said during her on-court interview. "She mixes up the pace a lot and she has great hands and serves well. For me, it was important to play my own game and speed things up. I was pleased with my win.
"It's much different conditions here," she continued in her post-match press conference. "The ball is flying. The court is faster than in Doha.
"I didn't really know how I was going to play to start off with. Generally, I was pleased with my game. Some serves were flying a little bit. I kind of have to adjust that for tomorrow."
Kasatkina has been one of the players to watch over the last 12 months, and the Russian has backed up the hype with a pair of wins over Angelique Kerber at the Apia International Sydney and last week at the Qatar Total Open.
"I was watching her play last week during my rain delay and she was still playing a bit. I thought, 'Gosh, she's so young!' I remember when I was 19, I thought I was all grown up, but she definitely has a great career ahead of her."
Coming off a run to the Qatar Total Open final, Wozniacki's experience and consistency proved too much for the flashy Kasatkina, hitting 17 winners to just 20 unforced errors - compared to 43 from the Russian teenager.
"I feel I can generate a lot of pace on these courts. I get to a lot of balls, too, which I think is frustrating for the other players that I can kind of go from defense to offense and really hurt them with that when they play a short ball."
The Dane saved her best tennis for the key points, converting five of seven break point opportunities en route to the 90 minute victory.
"I won her back in 2011, and I've made many semifinals here, so I've had great matches here. It's a lot of fun for me to be back; I was sorry to miss last year because of injury, but that makes coming back even better!"
"I saw her name at a tournament somewhere last year at the end of last year," she said of the Gstaad champion. "I think she played the finals, but that's basically it.
"I know how she looks like, but I don't know anything about her game. I will have to just scout some matches and go from there."
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This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.