Auckland R2: (3) Caroline Wozniacki vs Christina McHale
Caroline Wozniacki will continue her quest for a maiden Auckland title on Wednesday night when she comes up against Christina McHale in the second round. With Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic both suffering shock first round exits on Tuesday, Caroline is now the clear favourite to win the tournament. The Dane will be wary of avoiding a similar slip-up on Wednesday against an opponent that she has lost to on multiple occasions.
Wozniacki made a slow start to her first round match against Danka Kovinic. The Dane quickly found herself trailing 0-4 and in real danger of dropping the first set. However Wozniacki quickly found her groove and started to draw more and more errors from Kovinic’s racquet to win 6 straight games and claim the first set. The second set was tight but Wozniacki was too good when it mattered most, picking up a reasonably comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory to start her season.
Christina McHale has had a disappointing couple of seasons and will be hoping for much better results in 2016. The American is clearly capable of achieving much greater results than she has been in recent years. McHale made a positive start to the season by picking up a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory over Misaki Doi in her first round match in Auckland and will be confident heading into her clash with Wozniacki given her record against the Dane.
Wozniacki holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over McHale. The American won 2 of the first 3 encounters between the pair but Wozniacki has won their last 2 meetings. Their most recent clash took place in Madrid last year, it was Wozniacki who prevailed 7-5 6-0. McHale clearly matches up well against Wozniacki, she has troubled the Dane in all of their previous meetings but often struggles to maintain a high enough level to get the victory.
I suspect Wozniacki will ultimately be too strong here, with such an open draw Wozniacki will be extra motivated to perform well. The conditions at night should suit Wozniacki in this match-up, McHale has generally performed better against Wozniacki on quicker surfaces.