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Caroline Wozniacki vs Alison van Uytvanck WTA Rome tennis live: Wozniacki tries to end four-match losing streak at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 15 May 2018
  • Second seed Caroline Wozniacki takes on Alison van Uytvanck to start her Internazionali BNL d'Italia campaign on Wednesday
  • Wozniacki vs van Uytvanck Internazionali BNL d'Italia tennis is live from Rome on Wednesday at 7pm local/6pm BST
Caroline Wozniacki (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Caroline Wozniacki takes on Alison van Uytvanck to open her campaign at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia where she is on a four-match losing streak.

Playing at the Foro Italico for the first time since 2015 and looking for her first match win at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia since 2011, Caroline Wozniacki takes on Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck as she hopes to close the rankings gap on world no. 1 Simona Halep.

Wozniacki, whose relationship with clay is a bit complicated, had her best result at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in 2011 when she beat two-time champion Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals before losing to Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. Remarkably, that 2011 win over Jankovic was the last match win she’s recorded in Rome. Wozniacki has only played three times in the following six years, and every time she’s lost her opening match – to Anabel Medina Garrigues in 2012 (Wozniacki retired in the second set), Bojana Jovanovski in 2013 and Victoria Azarenka on her last appearance in 2015.

Wozniacki has every incentive to play the Internazionali BNL d’Italia this year, however – the Australian Open champion is in with a chance of reclaiming the world no. 1 ranking from Simona Halep. Wozniacki’s maiden major title in Melbourne saw her take back the no. 1 ranking, but Halep swiftly usurped it once more and the Dane has been unable to reclaim it despite multiple chances. Halep is defending so many points in the clay season, however, and her failure to match 2017’s Stuttgart semifinal and Madrid title mean that Wozniacki is very close behind once more, with 6,845 points to Halep’s 7,270 and nothing to defend in Rome, whereas the Romanian has runner-up points to defend at the Foro Italico.

The upshot of all this is that Wozniacki can retake the no. 1 ranking this week and, as a result, be seeded top at the French Open. Halep must reach the quarterfinals and do one round better than Wozniacki to retain the top spot, so the pressure is really on the Romanian, but Wozniacki must keep that pressure on her by getting through the first few rounds in Rome – which will mean snapping her four-match losing streak at the Foro Italico.

Since her 11-1 start to the year, finishing runner-up in Auckland and claiming that maiden major in Melbourne, Wozniacki’s results have been decent but quite unremarkable. A semifinalist at the Qatar Total Open in Doha, where she narrowly lost to Petra Kvitova, Wozniacki made quarterfinals in St Petersburg immediately after the Australian Open and at the International-level Istanbul event, but at the three Premier Mandatories so far this season hasn’t made it as far as the quarterfinals, losing to Daria Kasatkina in the round of 16 at Indian Wells, Monica Puig in the second round in Miami and Kiki Bertens in the third round in Madrid.

That doesn’t mean that Wozniacki’s been playing badly – she had good wins over Daria Gavrilova and Ash Barty in Madrid – just that she’s not been playing brilliantly, and has come up against some good opponents. Can she get a bit luckier than that in Rome?

First up for Wozniacki is Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck, who booked her place in the second round by beating Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Wang Qiang and Danielle Collins to qualify for the main draw before beating wildcard Samantha Stosur 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2 to book the clash with Wozniacki.

Now 24 years old and ranked world no. 49, van Uytvanck first broke into the top 100 in 2014 and had her best season to date in 2015 when she made WTA Tour semifinals in Katowice, Seoul and Luxembourg and recorded the biggest achievement of her career – reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open despite being ranked world no. 93, beating Kristina Mladenovic and Zarina Diyas before losing to Timea Bacsinszky.

Unfortunately for van Uytvanck, she had a right ankle injury in 2016 which saw her miss everything from Miami to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, preventing her from defending her Roland Garros points among other things, and she plummeted outside the top 100, falling further after she missed the first two months of the 2017 season.

Van Uytvanck managed to break back into the top 100 by the end of 2017, thanks mainly to some strong ITF results and a first WTA Tour title at Quebec City where she beat Timea Babos in the final. She’s continued to climb in 2018, where her results have seen her edge back into the top 50 – not far from her 2016 career-high ranking of world no. 41 – after winning her second career title in Budapest, beating Zhang Shuai, Mihaela Buzarnescu and Dominika Cibulkova in the final. 

The Belgian was 1-3 on WTA clay coming into Rome after defeats to Camila Giorgi in the second round of Lugano and losing her opening matches to Ajla Tomljanovic and Elise Mertens in Istanbul and Madrid respectively, but she’s already won four matches in Rome and is clearly well attuned to the conditions at the Foro Italico, where she’s playing for the first time.
Wozniacki and van Uytvanck have never met, but the second seed will clearly be the favourite against the relatively unheralded Belgian, who has never beaten a top-10 player in six attempts – although she has come close against opponents like Wozniacki who won’t overwhelm her with power. Van Uytvanck is a lot better than her ranking and not to be underestimated in this clash against the world no. 2 on the latter’s least favourite surface, but Wozniacki has every incentive to solve this problem and end her four-match losing streak in Rome.

Wozniacki vs van Uytvanck Internazionali BNL d’Italia tennis is live from Rome on Wednesday at 7pm local/6pm BST

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Caroline Wozniacki vs Alison van Uytvanck WTA Rome tennis live: Wozniacki tries to end four-match losing streak at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia

Caroline Wozniacki is out to win her first match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia since 2011 as she takes on Alison van Uytvanck in the second round: WTA Rome tennis live from Rome

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