Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki continues her bid for one last WTA title before retirement when she takes on Lauren Davis for a place in the ASB Classic quarter-finals in Auckland on Thursday.
Caroline Wozniacki (??) vs Lauren Davis (??) Match Info
Date: Thursday January 9
Tournament: ASB Classic, WTA Auckland R2
Time: 7.00pm local time (6.00am GMT)
Caroline Wozniacki vs Lauren Davis Head-to-Head
Wozniacki leads 2-0
2017 | Doha QF | Wozniacki 7-5 6-1
2019 | Beijing R64 | Wozniacki 6-1 6-3
Caroline Wozniacki vs Lauren Davis Match Preview
Two-time runner-up Wozniacki may be about to retire from the sport, but she’s still capable of some great tennis, as she proved during a 6-1 6-0 romp over local wildcard Paige Mary Hourigan in her Auckland opener on Tuesday.
Granted, Hourigan is ranked No. 447 in the world and has barely played at this level throughout her career, but first matches of the season against unknown players can often prove tricky – however, Wozniacki was dominant from start to finish, needing just 53 minutes to secure her spot in the second round.
“It was a good start to the tournament,” Wozniacki said after her win. “I played pretty well, I served well. I think she was probably nervous going out there playing against me on Centre Court – it’s not easy to go out there and play free. You just try to think about yourself and what you’re out there to do.”
A runner-up in Auckland in 2015 (lost to Venus Williams) and 2018 (lost to Julia Goerges), along with reaching the semi-finals in 2016 and falling to Bianca Andreescu last year, Wozniacki – who is also into the second round of doubles with Serena Williams – has declared she’s prepared for January like any other season, despite her impending retirement.
Wozniacki finally broke through and won her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2019, returning to World No. 1 in the process, but she was later diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which has ultimately contributed to her slide down to No. 38 in the world. The Dane still made the final of Charleston and semi-finals of Beijing last year, but she’s not the player she once was due to her condition and made the decision to call time on her career after the Australian Open later this month. Can Wozniacki put together one last title run before hanging up the racquet?
Lauren Davis stands in her way in the second round. Wozniacki may be a two-time finalist in Auckland, but Davis is a champion in the New Zealand city, winning her one and only WTA title at the event in 2017, beating the likes of Kiki Bertens, Barbora Strycova and Jelena Ostapenko on her way to the silverware. The diminutive American hit her career-high ranking of No. 37 that season, but her career went on a downward spiral in the following years due to injury and loss of form, especially after a heartbreaking 15-13 loss in the third round of the 2018 Australian Open to Simona Halep.
Davis would end the 2018 season at No. 252 in the world, but she bounced back strongly in 2019, clawing her way back up the rankings via the ITF circuit before putting together an excellent Wimbledon, qualifying for the main draw before conquering World No. 5 and former champion Angelique Kerber on her way to the third round, where she was ousted by Carla Suarez Navarro. Davis would finish 2019 at No. 62 in the world, enabling her to enter Auckland and the Australian Open as a direct entrant. The 26-year-old got her campaign off to a nice start on Tuesday, beating compatriot Varvara Lepchenko by a 7-6(7) 6-2 scoreline.
Caroline Wozniacki vs Lauren Davis Prediction
Wozniacki has won both of their previous meetings very comfortably – and that’s due to the fact she basically does everything that little bit better. They both have similar game styles and like to counterpunch from the baseline, but Davis knows she can’t outlast Wozniacki in long exchanges, so she has to be more aggressive than usual in order to make an impact. Wozniacki looked pretty good in her opener considering her situation and this is a favourable match-up for her. Davis has obviously played well in Auckland in the past, but Wozniacki remains the slight favourite in my eyes.