Being the youngest player to earn her way into the main draw means that 16-year-old Donna Vekic didn't make it there on luck, but former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki showed the Croat she still has a long way to go before she can seriously contend for major titles when she handily took care of her in a 6-1 6-4 second-round victory.
While the still relatively small and thin Vekic was impressive when occasionally banging eye-popping winners, it was the 22-year-old Dane who controlled the action on a hot afternoon at Hisense Arena. She served hard and with pinpoint precision, crushed her favoured two-handed backhand to all angles of the court, and gamely hustled down many of the Croatian’s biggest blasts.
“I knew that I had to put the pressure on her from the beginning,” Wozniacki said.
“I knew I have to make her move, I have to put the pressure on her, I didn't have to go for wild shots. I knew that she would feel the pressure sooner or later.”
Wozniacki – who reached the semifinals here in 2011 as the top seed and lost a difficult three setter to Li Na while holding a match point – is intent on rediscovering the game that once made her a feared competitor.
The world No.10 did not start off 2013 in fine fashion, losing early at Brisbane and in Sydney, but she has promised to up her level in Melbourne and at least in her first two matches, she has.
While she only managed to strike 13 winners, Wozniacki did force Vekic into 14 errors and won 70 per cent percent of her first serve points.
She also returned aggressively at times, breaking Vekic on five occasions and grabbing 62 per cent of the Croatian’s second serve points.
Wozniacki, who has been working on adding pace to her weaker forehand wing and upping the speed of her serve, won the first set with a booming ace out wide.
Vekic, who committed 32 unforced errors in the contest, played more consistently in the second set and managed to blast seven forehand winners, but she couldn’t manage to grab enough key points.
Wozniacki held at love to win the match when the teenager committed four straight unforced errors.
“I know the feeling, how it is sometimes going in and playing someone when you're young, you're playing a top player,” Wozniacki said.
“I definitely saw a lot of potential in her. I thought actually she was going to go for more, but I could tell that she can keep the ball in play and go for it when she needs to. She's young. She's going to improve a lot over the next few years still. I definitely believe that we're going to see a lot of her in the future.
The Dane, who reached the 2012 Australian quarterfinals before falling to former champion Kim Clijsters, will play qualifier Lesia Tsurenko in the third round.