I was tempted to stay up for the Auckland final last night, but sleep ruled in the end so I avoided checking the live scores and watched using the catch-up service on TennisTV. If you watch a lot of tennis, i’d definitely recommend TennisTV… it’s been my saviour for the last year. It was a fun watch as Venus Williams won her first title in Auckland, coming from a set and a break down to beat Caroline Wozniacki, 2-6 6-3 6-3. This didn’t look likely after Caroline played a fine first set. Venus was struggling to adapt to the windy conditions and looked a little off the pace. Wozniacki though, played a near perfect set that was centered around some excellent serving (72% first serve points won, 60% second serve points won). She picked off Venus at the net and looked completely in control of her game, absorbing the pace and hitting as many winners as Venus. It is worth noting that this was the first set that Wozniacki has won against Venus in their six matches.
Venus continued to look shaky at the start of the second set, dropping her serve immediately. However, Wozniacki also started to struggle. Her serve went off the radar as Venus eased her way into the match, winning six of the next eight games to take the second set. I enjoyed the decider, which had some fun points. There was a great point, which Wozniacki won with a lob in the middle of the set and we also got to see a Wozniacki serve shank. Venus maintained the momentum she created in the second set and was the more aggressive and clinical player. I liked that Wozniacki tried to do something different by coming into the net, but her approaches were not great and Venus came up with some accurate passes.
Wozniacki saved three match points in the final game with two examples of forceful play and an ace. It was reminiscent of the way she played the match points against Serena Williams in Singapore. However, this was a fine performance from Venus, who looked dominant all week in Auckland and has laided down a solid marker for 2015. Both players will be dangerous at the Australian Open, but particularly Venus with the lower seeding. Before the season began, Wozniacki was my pick for the Australian Open. The draw will be released in less than a week and I have no idea right now who I will be picking as my champion!
Venus will now head to Melbourne ready for the AO, meanwhile Wozniacki will be in Sydney where she will play Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (again) in the first round. There were some rumours that Caro may skip the event… I hope she does.