Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki made her return to the court in style as she knocked off Australian qualifier Kimberly Birrell 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday in the first round of the National Bank Open in Montreal.
It was the first match in 3 1/2 years for Wozniacki, who retired after the 2020 Australian Open.
"Definitely a little rusty, but what an amazing place to come back and play my first match," Wozniacki said, referring to the vocal support she received during the 97-minute match.
Wozniacki, who is married to former NBA player David Lee, gave birth to two children during her hiatus and has her battle with rheumatoid arthritis under control. Before retiring, she won 30 singles titles, including the 2018 Australian Open, and earned more than $35 million in prize money.
On Tuesday, Birrell had more winners (16 to 13), but Wozniacki saved six of eight break points while controlling most of the match.
Wozniacki, from Denmark, will play Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, the No. 9 seed from the Czech Republic, in the second round. Vondrousova beat Egypt's Mayar Sherif 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday.
American Danielle Collins was in strong form as she rolled to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over red-hot Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
Collins had a 16-12 edge in winners. The 2022 Australian Open finalist had to qualify to reach the main draw for the first time since 2019 in Sydney.
"I had two tough matches in the qualifying, so I got a lot of time on court, which is kind of what I needed, not having a lot of matches this year," Collins said. "So after playing a few long matches, I really feel in rhythm, and I felt like today I was really on with my shots and was able to take control of the points early and get off to a good start. Then I was able to really just keep the momentum going forward."
Svitolina, who recently returned to the WTA Tour after giving birth, received a wild card into the tournament.
Also, No. 10 seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia cruised to a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Elise Mertens of Belgium. No. 11 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil also won 6-4, 6-2, slipping past Poland's Magdalena Frech.
No. 14 seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic recorded a 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory over Russia's Anastasia Potapova, while No. 15 seed Liudmila Samsonova of Russia outlasted Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Canadian Leylah Fernandez moved on with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over American Peyton Stearns.
Alycia Parks defeated fellow American Lauren Davis 7-5, 4-6, 6-2. American Bernarda Pera went down as Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan produced a 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Other winners on Tuesday included Italian Camila Giorgi, Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, Croatian Petra Martic, China's Qinwen Zheng, Anna Blinkova of Russia and American Sloane Stephens, who won against 16th-seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka with a walkover.
—Field Level Media