When Caroline Wozniacki announced in June that she was coming back to tennis three years after retiring, she said she was doing it because she thought she still could compete at the very top.
Having struggled for top form in her first two tournaments back, the 33-year-old former world No1 served brilliantly and held her nerve when Kvitova threatened to take it to a decider. Wozniacki sat with her head in her hands for a few seconds as she let the magnitude of her achievement sink in.
“To be back on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in front of a packed crowd, it’s a dream come true,” said the 2018 Australian Open champion. “If you’d asked me three years ago, I would have said I’d never be back on this court, but to be back and to beat the world No11 feels very, very special.”
Kvitova may not have been at her best — she said she had been struggling with her health since Montreal this month — but Wozniacki was strong, rock solid and calm, even in the pressure moments.
“It feels amazing to beat an amazing player and champion like Petra,” she said. “I knew I had a chance to win and I believe in myself.”
It is Wozniacki’s first victory over a top-20 opponent since she beat Kvitova in the WTA Finals in 2020. She now plays the American Jen Brady in the third round.