Caroline Wozniacki launched the season with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 victory over German veteran Laura Siegemund. Last year’s finalist, Wozniacki needed an hour and 20 minutes to complete a comfortable victory. She now awaits Canada’s Bianca Andreescu who defeated the lucky loser Siegemund in qualifying.
Also, Eugenie Bouchard moved to the quarterfinals as she defeated qualifier Bibiane Schoofs 6-7 6-4 6-4. She now awaits defending champion Goerges who beat 6-4 6-4 Mona Barthel in an all-German clash. Wozniacki managed to improve her stellar record in Auckland to 16-5, a figure that includes two runs to the final.
The German broke the Dane in the second set and showed a brilliant touch at the net, coupled with a more aggressive strategy in the second set. Wozniacki admitted it wasn't the prettiest match she's played, adding she was just trying to get back into the rhythm as she didn't practice well.
She could just expect to fight and try her hardest and tried to look at the positives after the match, that maintained her chance to take part in a dream quarter-final match-up with Venus Williams, who watched the match from the players' balcony.
"It would be great," said Wozniacki. "She's obviously a tough competitor and feel like I bump into her everywhere this week. We were kinda joking ... she told me actually 'Hey, you don't need to follow me, you can just text me and say if you want to see me and we can hang out'".
Wozniacki, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in September, just ahead of the US Open, looks determined to use her profile to increase the global knowledge on the autoimmune disease. "I think you have a big platform when you do what I do," said Wozniacki, as the New Zealand Herald reported.
"I think there are so many ways you can do that and we are just kind of figuring that out. First of all just saying I have rheumatoid arthritis already helps a lot of people because a lot of people have reached out to me and telling me they have the same or someone in their family…there is more people that have it than you think." Bouchard, projected to re-enter the top 80 with the win, lost a 5-3 lead in the first set.
Serving to clinch it, she even thought she had wrapped it up with an ace, but her opponent challenged the decision and came storming back to eventually claim it in a tiebreak. Thrown off balance by Schoofs’ assortment of chips, slices, and redirections, Bouchard showed glimpses of the impressive shotmaking of her good old days in the second set that featured five successive breaks of serve.
Before the decider, the Canadian got a scolding from her coach Michael Joyce after the second set saying her attitude “stinks”. Her fighting spirit, in the end, made the difference. "That was a really tough match," said Bouchard.
"I don't think I played my best at times, I don't think I had a good attitude at times - I got too emotional - but I'm glad I got myself together in the third, and just kept fighting, no matter what." The Canadian is tied at 1-1 against 2018 champion Julia Goerges, who's 22-8 in Auckland, qualifying matches included.
Bouchard, who lost the last four clashes against top 20 opponents, lost the most recent meeting in Luxembourg last year after she had beaten the German at 2014 Roland Garros. Elsewhere, Sara Sorribes Tormo upset the seventh seed Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 1-6 6-1 with an excellent display of tennis.
The Spaniard will face the third seed Sui-Wei Hsieh, who beat Monica Puig 6-1 7-6 saving a set point in the second set. The Taiwanese won both the previous meetings against the Spaniard, always on hard court. In their third meeting, Hsieh immediately consolidated a 3-0 lead in the opening set while Puig became increasingly burdened by her almost non-existent second serve.
In the second set, Puig increased her level but the leverage stood firm in the hands of the third seed. The Puerto Rican fired a winner to level at 4-4, Hsieh defended deeply in the closing stages and forced the tiebreaker, coming back from 3-1 down and sealing the win as Puig returned the ball into the net.
WTA Auckland - Second round
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) d.  Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
 Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 6-1, 7-6(3)
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. [Q] Bibiane Schoofs (NED) 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4
 Julia Goerges (GER) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 6-4 6-4
 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. [LL] Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-3, 6-2