Ser­ena Williams, Woz­ni­acki win again in Auck­land in dou­bles

Orlando Sentinel - - WEATHER - By As­so­ci­ated Press


AUCK­LAND, New Zealand — Ser­ena Williams and Caro­line Woz­ni­acki pro­longed their one-time-only dou­bles part­ner­ship Wednesday when they won through to the semi­fi­nals of the ASB Classic.

Play­ing in com­bi­na­tion for the first time in their ca­reers, Williams and Woz­ni­acki beat top-seeded Jo­hanna Lars­son of Swe­den and Caro­line Dole­hide of the United States 6-2, 6-1 af­ter beat­ing Nao Hib­ino and Makoto Ni­nomiya of Ja­pan in their open­ing match.

The pair will not play to­gether at the Aus­tralian Open, which will be Woz­ni­acki’s fi­nal Grand Slam tour­na­ment be­fore re­tire­ment, but for an ex­hi­bi­tion against Williams in Copen­hagen in May. For that rea­son, the

Auck­land tour­na­ment of­fers the only chance for fans to sa­vor the sight of two for­mer world sin­gles No. 1s play­ing as a part­ner­ship.

The match against Lars­son and Dole­hide, both ac­com­plished dou­bles part­ner­ships, was the tough­est test of their part­ner­ship. Lars­son has 13 dou­bles ti­tles and Dole­hide has been a U.S. Open dou­bles semi­fi­nal­ist.

Williams was a driv­ing force in their win Wednesday, dom­i­nat­ing the court, though she paid trib­ute to Woz­ni­acki, who, she said, “never missed.”

Woz­ni­acki will play Lau­ren Davis in the sec­ond round of sin­gles Thursday while Williams will play fel­low Amer­i­can Christina McHale.

Eu­ge­nie Bouchard came into the tour­na­ment as a wild-card en­try af­ter a dif­fi­cult 2019 sea­son and pro­gressed to the quar­ter­fi­nals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over eighth-seeded Caro­line Gar­cia.

Bouchard, who has been as high as No. 5 in sin­gles, dropped out of the top 200 last year, at one stage los­ing 12 straight first-round matches. The 25-year-old Cana­dian showed signs of a re­turn to form as she beat Gar­cia in 88 min­utes.

She in­curred a time vi­o­la­tion at set point in the first set but held serve, then closed out the match at her first op­por­tu­nity.

World No. 15 Pe­tra Mar­cic, the No. 2 seed, lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to France’s Al­ize Cor­net, who fin­ished 2019 out­side the top 50 for the first time in eight years. Cor­net sealed the match af­ter 2 hours, 16 min­utes with three con­sec­u­tive aces.

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