Caroline Wozniacki free to watch Rory while Aussies also disappear

 

Wimbledon

Caroline Wozniacki, the former world No 1 who has been criticised in some quarters for a perceived lack of focus since beginning a relationship with the golfer Rory McIlroy, will be able to follow him at the Irish Open from today. The Dane lost her delayed first-round match against Austria's Tamira Paszek, last week's Eastbourne winner, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. It was an inconsistent performance, familiar from much of Wozniacki's slide from the No 1 position in January to No 7 now.

Five-four down when play was suspended on Centre Court, the Dane saved four set points after the roof was closed and took the first set. But she lost the second on a tie-break, having failed to take two match points, and was unable to capitalise on an early break of serve in the decider.

"I didn't take my chance," she said. "But I had a match point where she twice hit the line."

Australia's Samantha Stosur, the fifth seed, made her familiar early Wimbledon exit in one of the most topsy-turvy matches of the tournament, leaving her country without a player in either singles event.

Up against the 21-year-old Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, Stosur won the first two games; lost six in a row and with them the first set; won six in succession for a second-set bagel; lost three more at the start of the final set; and after saving two match points was finally beaten 6-2, 0-6, 6-4.

"It's a pretty woeful performance by all of us but it's just one of those things that have happened," she said. "I don't think you can look at something from one tournament and think, 'Oh my God, we have to change everything.'"

For Rus, a left-hander who lives in a small town called Monster and is ranked No 72, it was a victory comparable to beating Kim Clijsters last year at the French Open.

Clijsters followed Wozniacki on to Centre Court and beat Andrea Hlavackova 6-3, 6-3 in little more than an hour. Clijsters is unseeded after slipping to No 47 but she has already knocked out the 18th seed, Jelena Jankovic, and is lurking dangerously in the top quarter of the draw.

The top seed Maria Sharapova was behind for much of the first set against Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova before winning it on a tie-break. She will take a 3-1 second set lead into today's resumption. But China's Li Na, the 11th seed, is out, beaten by Sorano Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 6-4.

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