Stepping on the court at the Australian Open, Caroline Wozniacki began the final tournament of her career as she fought with mixed emotions. However, the former world No 1 comfortably overcame Kristie Ahn with a 6-1,6-3 win.
Winning the first set in just 24 minutes, the Danish veteran's characteristic defensive skills and swift footwork enthralled audiences at the Melbourne Arena. The second set, however, proved to be tougher for the Dane. Despite that, she breezed past the 92nd-ranked American.
Never in the danger of losing
She went on to hold the next two games and never seemed in danger of losing even when Ahn managed to claw a break back in the fourth game. Ahn, facing three match points at 5-3 down, saved one but hit a double fault on the second, securing the victory for Wozniacki after an hour and 25 minutes.
"It's always tricky ... There's a lot of just emotions but I tried to keep them in check, and I thought I did that very well today," the 29-year-old, who won her only Grand Slam trophy in 2018 at Melbourne Park, told reporters.
Credited with putting Danish tennis on the world map
Wozniacki will next face the winner of the match between 21st-ranked Dayana Yastremska and Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan. Wozniacki, who has earned some $35 million in prize money, is credited with putting Denmark on the tennis map after reaching the number one ranking for the first time in 2010.
Reflecting on her achievements, Wozniacki said she hoped to inspire the next generation of Danish players, noting that she herself had no peers while she was climbing up the ranks. "I do think that having someone there before you would probably have been a little easier, because it would have showed the way and that it's possible."
"I always believed in myself, and I always believed that there are no limits to what you can achieve no matter where you're from." Seven-times Australian Open champion Serena Williams described Wozniacki's retirement as "a great loss to women's tennis" and credited the Dane with making the locker room a friendlier place.
(With agency inputs)