Commanding start from Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki made the ideal start to the US Open with a 6-3 6-1 win over Nuria Llagostera Vives.
The world No. 1 has travelled to Flushing Meadows as arguably the most talked about player in the women's game in recent weeks. Serena Williams has commanded headlines after hitting form, but Wozniacki's form, coaching status and personal life have all been under the microscope.
She proved her form was solid with victory at New Haven for the fourth year in a row, where it was confirmed that she was in a relationship with golfing superstar Rory McIlroy, and her on-off coaching status with her father would appear to be back on again after he was seen courtside during practice this week.
An opening-round encounter with Llagostera Vives handed Wozniacki the chance to silence her detractors and she opened up with a stylish display. A meeting with a player ranked 125 in the world was never likely to pose much of a challenge and so it proved. The Dane made a bright start, securing a break of serve in the third game, and it allowed her to ease into her rhythm.
Wozniacki hit the ball crisply from the baseline and moved stylishly around the court. To her credit, Llagostera Vives made her opponent work and saved one match point with an excellent drop shot and another with a solid forehand volley but it was only a brief stay of execution as a crisp return at the feet of her opponent proved too good.
Victoria Azarenka is unlikely to creep quietly into the tournament, given the decibel level that comes from her side of the court during matches, and she fired a warning to her rivals with a dominant display in beating Johanna Larsson 6-1 6-3. The fourth seed from Belarus was given a helping hand by her Swedish opponent who looked completely overwhelmed by the big occasion on Arthur Ashes Stadium, as she hit a raft of errors. In truth, though, it hardly mattered as Azarenka dominated throughout and cruised into the second round.
Sabine Lisicki continued her fine run of form, having won last weekend, and the No. 22 seed set up a second-round clash with the unseeded Venus Williams after cruising to a 6-3 6-3 win over Alona Bondarenko.
Flavia Pennetta was the first player to taste victory on Tuesday, with the Italian No. 26 seed proving much too good for Aravane Rezai, while Gisela Dulko also breezed into round two - beating Rebecca Marino 6-3 6-3.
The 20th seed Yanina Wickmayer eased past Sorana Cirstea, while highly-rated American teenager Lauren Davis produced a battling display but went down 7-6(3) 6-3 to Angelique Kerber.