Caroline Wozniacki had so much trouble getting the victory from Ana Konjuh but patience and some hope worked out for the Dane at the Qatar Total Open Monday night. She survived all the problems her game had to win 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on centre court at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha.
The Dane had won the last two meetings against the Croatian with the last coming in Tokyo at the late part of the season. She’s taken care of Konjuh in straight sets and hoped to do so again. So far, Wozniacki hasn’t been a tough contender losing her opening matches of the Australian Open and at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy. With something clearly affecting her game, she’ll have to be 100 percent ready to go in the desert to make something of a rough start to the season.
Wozniacki was being run in the first few games of the set as Konjuh rallied to a 3-0 lead over the former number one. It led to the Dane needing a pep talk from her coach and father Piotr Wozniacki to settle her down and get back into the set before it was too late. She broke the Croatian in the fourth and gained another win but still found herself down two games as Konjuh captured a fourth game.
Wozniacki struck back to win the two games needed to level up but the Croatian still had the upper hand taking the ninth game in her possession to serve for the set. She got aggressive sitting a point behind before taking control of set point and shutting the door on the Danish tennis star. Though it took her 46 minutes, the energy she had playing against one of the top players in the tournament was taking a toll landing 15 winners despite her four double faults. The Dane had no big moves show in the opening set knowing that plenty had to be done in the second.
Wozniacki pressed the envelope in her favor through the first three games taking them like she had never seen issues in her game. Konjuh broke her in the fourth before trading off wins with the Dane that put the set at 4-2. Konjuh won just another game to her name but couldn’t stop the resilient run that Wozniacki found herself on winning the set 6-3.
Great footwork and accuracy on the shots gave Wozniacki a smoother start to the third set taking a lead after three games. Her improvements on serve downgraded the skills of the Croatian as she had so much trouble fighting on the rallies. She found herself on the low end of the set with Wozniacki leading 4-2 in what looked to be a strong finish by the Dane.
The seventh was Konjuh’s worst game of the match as she recorded her eighth double fault that made it so easy for Wozniacki to win. She sat leading 5-2 with the ball in her hands to close out the match. The Dane landed her fourth ace setting up match point where it all went awry on the efforts of Konjuh; she clawed back to fight on deuce taking the opportunity away.
Things became interesting for the Croatian as she had a match going for herself making the score 4-5 with one chance of coming back into the set. Wozniacki dominated into the tenth going up 40-0 on Konjuh but she lost a triple match point on the second attempt that left her frustrated. Things got to deuce with the Croatian taking chances and watching them pay off. Killing off every match point attempt that came Wozniacki’s way, Konjuh answered on the big points that pushed the set forward.
Wozniacki recovered in the 11th where a strong win again Konjuh put her back to the match to bed but staying strong was her second enemy going into the 12th. She found herself fighting once again for the match point against Konjuh who she allowed to get back in on mistakes. After four breaks and nine match point attempts, Wozniacki finally got the job done getting to the end as winner of the 2 hour and 35 minute battle.
It wasn’t the style of play that Wozniacki brought to court time and again as tune-up before her second round match would need to be done. She’ll start from scratch if she had to before facing Daria Gavrilova on Tuesday.