Wozniacki breezes in first-round match

NEW YORK -- On Monday, Caroline Wozniacki began her 46th week as the No. 1-ranked player in women's tennis, and that makes it now 46 weeks -- and counting -- of questions about when she will finally win her first Grand Slam, and put to rest any doubts about whether she belongs there.

With the U.S. Open under way, Wozniacki began to address the issue once again Tuesday, easily beating Nuria Llagostera Vives of Spain, 6-3, 6-1, in her first-round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Wozniacki has now won five consecutive matches, including four at the New Haven Open, which she won last week for the fourth straight time. That title has helped to minimize the doubts about her game that have arisen since she lost in the third round of the French Open and the fourth round at Wimbledon, and dropped opening matches at both the Rogers Cup in Toronto and Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati this past month.

Asked about her confidence now, Wozniacki said, "Why shouldn't it be high? I'm No. 1 still and I've just won a tournament, so I'm feeling fine. I'm feeling good. Again, I lost two matches. That's what happens. You know, I just won four in a row; this was my fifth one. I'm feeling OK."

She showed her confidence on the court as well, beating the Spaniard in 1 hour, 20 minutes in a match that featured plenty of competitive and entertaining points but looked lopsided on the scoreboard. Llagostera Vives, ranked No. 125, struggled to match Wozniacki's consistency from the baseline. Wozniacki used a break in the fourth game to take the first set, then reeled off six games in a row, including three service breaks in the second set, to put Llagostera Vives away.

Still, a cautious Wozniacki was less than definitive when asked if she was playing well enough to win the tournament.

"Well, always [the] first match is tough to indicate anything," she said.

Of course, she has been here before. Wozniacki has held the top spot in the standings longer than all but eight players, but she is the only one in that exclusive club never to have won a Grand Slam event. But by now, of course, she has grown tired of that question.

"You know, it's actually been nice the last three, four weeks because I haven't gotten any questions about No. 1," Wozniacki said. "I know that everyone has to write their stories, but I think it's -- we should move on. Ask me about something else, something more interesting."

Wozniacki declined to answer the most pertinent question regarding her game and preparation for the Open. After being coached by her father, Piotr, for years, Wozniacki hired an outside coach after Wimbledon. But she has not revealed the name of the coach.

"If he wants to be in the background and not have his name out, I have to respect that," said Wozniacki, who blamed the losses at Toronto and Cincinnati on attempts to adjust her game.

Wozniacki's father was in the player's box on Tuesday watching his daughter play; the coach apparently wasn't. Also absent on Tuesday was the latest addition to the entourage: boyfriend Rory McIlroy, the reigning U.S. Open golf champion. Wozniacki and McIlroy have been an item since July, but the golfer is currently in Europe and won't be at the Open.

Wozniacki is hoping to make it his-and-hers U.S. Open titles this year.

"You know, [McIlroy] has something I'm looking for and I have something he's looking for," Wozniacki said. "He wants to be No. 1. So it's good to have something on each other."

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