World number one Caroline Wozniacki and her chief rankings rival Petra Kvitova had demanding three-set introductions to the Sydney International in their first official matches of the season on Tuesday.
Wozniacki and Kvitova, tuning up for next week’s Australian Open, were on court for more than two hours in warm conditions after beginning their Australian campaigns indoors at last week’s Hopman Cup in Perth.
Wozniacki was beaten by world number two Kvitova in three sets in the mixed teams Hopman Cup, after beating American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova in her other singles matches.
After her two hour and 22 minute match against the 18th-ranked Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, the Danish world number one said her 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 victory had been a tough contest.
“I thought I didn’t have that chance, but I never gave up the fight,” said Wozniacki, whose tenure at the top of the women’s singles rankings comes despite not yet winning a grand slam in 19 attempts.
“I’m happy to be through to the next round here. Definitely that I could fight back from that score is satisfying, but I definitely need to step up my game a little bit in the next round.”