Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki overcame a slow start to claim a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in her opening match at the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament Wednesday on Daniel Island.
"I'm really happy that I finished it off in two sets. I've been playing a lot of matches lately, so I was really happy I managed to win the first set and closed it off in the second," said Wozniacki, the No. 2-ranked player in the world.
Strycova, after losing the opening point, won the next three games. But Wozniacki rallied and finally tied the match at 4, then closed it out in an opening set that lasted 40 minutes. Wozniacki finally finished off Strycova in 1 hour and 19 minutes.
Wozniacki said she thought a tough opening match could be beneficial.
"When you get some tough matches in the beginning, then you are already in the game," she said. "You know that you have to step it up to win your matches. You just try to do everything better for the next time you step on the court."
Wozniacki said Strycova was playing well.
"She got a lot of balls back, and I just needed to find my game and find a way to beat her," she said. "Once I did that, I won a lot of
points and I won the games and I won the match. I just needed to figure out the right strategy.
Wozniacki will face No. 16 seed Patty Schnyder today. Schnyder, 31, is 12 years older than Wozniacki. Schnyder defeated Michelle Larcher de Brito, 6-3, 6-1, to advance.
Wozniacki defeated Schnyder, 6-0, 6-4, in the first round of last week's MPS Group Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., on her way to winning tournament.
"I'm sure the atmosphere is going to be really good," Wozniacki said. "I played Patty in Ponte Vedra last week, but tomorrow's going to be a totally different match. I'm just going to go out there and enjoy myself."
Wozniacki said Schnyder knows how to win matches, so she needs to be prepared to play her best.
The tournament lost No. 3 seed Victoria Aarenka, who retired because of a lingering hamstring injury during the second set of her match with qualifier Christina McHale.
Azarenka, ranked No. 9 in the world, won the first set, 6-2, and was tied in the second set at 2-2 when she retired.
McHale, 17, will face 18-year-old Melanie Oudin, the No. 13 seed who beat qualifier Sophie Ferguson, 6-2, 6-4. Oudin and McHale have never played each other professionally.
"It's a little weird playing her in the third round of Charleston because the last time we played was in a junior tournament," Oudin said. "Christina's been playing really, really well, and she's got nothing to lose. I've never lost to her, so she's probably going to come out with no fear and I'm just going to have to be on top of my game."
In other matches, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, the No. 8 seed, advanced when Japan's Ayumi Morita retired with an injury. Hantuchova was ahead 6-2, 2-0 when the match ended. Also, No. 6 Nadia Petrova defeated Vania King, 6-2, 6-1; No. 9 seed Alona Bondarenko beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5; No. 10 Elena Vesnina stopped Sophia Arvidsson, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; and No. 14 Vera Dushevina defeated Chang Kai-chen, 6-2, 6-2.