It was hardly easy for the former No. 1 women's singles player, but Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, the No. 6 seed at the US Open, ultimately defeated China's Ying-Ying Duan 6-2, 7-5 on Tuesday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Duan, the unseeded 24-year-old, acquitted herself extremely well in her first Grand Slam, forging a 5-2 lead in the second set after dropping the first. But her inexperience and nerves became apparent as she hit into dozens of unforced errors as Wozniacki clawed back.
With boyfriend Rory McIlroy in the stands, Wozniacki won the final five games, assuring herself a better finish than in last year's Open campaign when she was bounced in the first round.
She made it to the finals in 2009, and even though her draw is extremely favorable, advancing that far would be a significant achievement given her recent big-stage struggles. Still, a win is a win and she'll take on the winner of an all-South African match between Chanelle Scheepers vs. Chanel Simmonds in the second round.
As for the rumors about Wozniacki's recent breakup with McIlroy, an early-morning picture seemed to suggest all was well.