By Martyn Herman
PARIS (Reuters) – Caroline Wozniacki‘s French Open record does not strike fear into opponents but the Dane could be the dangerwoman at this year’s French Open, according to former champion Mats Wilander.
The 27-year-old Dane was in imperious form on Wednesday, thrashing Georgina Garcia Perez in 51 minutes for the loss of one game to march into the third round.
She only has two quarter-final appearances to show for her 10 previous Roland Garros appearances, but three-times winner Wilander sees something different in her this time after she won her maiden grand slam at this year’s Australian Open.
“We don’t often talk about her at the French Open but Caroline Wozniacki has now won a slam and that tends to help you a lot when you are playing on the surface on which you’ve had the least success,” Wilander, Eurosport’s lead tennis expert and presenter of the daily Game, Schett and Mats, told Reuters.
“Winning a slam has made her more relaxed. She is very dangerous for me, very dangerous.
“She is not as natural on the clay as someone like (Simona Halep) because she doesn’t like the sliding and slipping.
“Maybe she doesn’t have the power to hit through the court if it’s damp and heavy but I think being a Grand Slam winner she will be looser on impact, more carefree.”
The Swede said winning his first Grand Slam at the French Open in 1982 opened the door to winning majors on surfaces away from his preferred clay.
He won the 1982 and 1983 Australian Opens when it was still held on grass and again in 1988 when it switched to hardcourts.
Wilander also won the U.S. Open on hardcourts and believes Wozniacki will now feel she can win on all the surfaces, be it on clay or Wimbledon’s slick lawns.
“Once you’ve won a slam it just opens the door to winning more, at know time after my first one did I think I wasn’t going to win another one,” Wilander said.
“I really think that now Caroline has one, she will think how come I’ve not won three or four? That will have entered her mind for sure.”
Wozniacki will face French wildcard Pauline Parmentier for a place in the last 16.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)