AAP Tennis

Champion Wozniacki eases into second round

By AAP Newswire

Reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki has marked her return to Rod Laver Arena with a win, defeating Belgian Alison van Uytvanck in straight sets.

The Danish world No.3 won 6-3 6-4 on Monday night, her first match on Melbourne Park's centre court since she lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup last January.

While Wozniacki was a picture of concentration for much of her clash, the emotion flooded in after her first-round victory.

"Last year I had some incredible memories from here ... it's such a special feeling. I love playing back here," she said.

"I'm going to start crying and I never cry."

Wozniacki needed an hour and 33 minutes to get past the Belgian world No.52.

Her serve and overall consistency was the difference.

Wozniacki was never broken, facing just two break points, while recording just 16 unforced errors against a "very tricky" opponent.

"I think she played very well. The first set was especially a high level," she said.

"I'm was happy to get that early break (in the second serve and then) I was trying to stay focused to win my serves."

For Van Uytvanck, 24, it was a fifth-straight Australian Open appearance where she has lost in the first round, including a 2015 loss to Serena Williams and a double-bagelling by Victoria Azarenka in 2016.

Wozniacki's next assignment will be Sweden's Johanna Larsson, with a possible blockbuster against Maria Sharapova looming in the third round.