Williams, Wozniacki win again in Auckland doubles

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (AP) — Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki prolonged their one-time-only doubles partnership yesterday 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 (US) 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 savour 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 US Open doubles semifinalist.

Williams was a driving force in their win yesterday, 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 today 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 fifth-ranked 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.

Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki celebrate a point against Caroline Dolehide and Johanna Larsson during their women’s doubles quarter final match during the Auckland Classic. PHOTO: AFP