Wozniacki blasts past slumping Bouchard

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In-form Caroline Wozniacki started the defense of her Hong Kong Open title in rampant style by blowing away Eugenie Bouchard 6-1, 6-1 last night.

Wozniacki, seeded three and a recent winner of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, dominated the first-round match in China's Hong Kong as Bouchard was forced into a cascade of errors.

Wozniacki never looked remotely in trouble against the former golden girl of tennis, breaking her serve almost at will, and cruising to victory in only 58 minutes.

"It was a great start," Wozniacki told reporters.

"I feel like I played pretty well, tried to stay aggressive and tried to make her feel pressured and it worked," added the world No. 6.

"She never gave me a chance tonight," said a crestfallen Bouchard.

For the Canadian, once the poster girl for the future of women's tennis, it was another chastening defeat as the 23-year-old rides the crest of the biggest slump of her young career.

It seems a world away from Bouchard's breakthrough season of 2014 when her easy-going personality and media friendly appearances were lapped up after she made the Wimbledon final and semifinals at the Australian and French Opens while soaring to fourth in the world.

Three years on, her career is in freefall and she languishes at 78th having had just one run to a quarterfinal in 2017, on the Madrid clay in early May.

Since a second-round exit at the French Open at the end of May, she has won just two matches on tour and it was easy to see why as she crumbled again.

Earlier, second seed Venus Williams raced through her opening match 6-2, 6-2 against Japan's Risa Ozaki in just 74 minutes.

The American faces another Japanese opponent in Naomi Osaka next after she overcame Chilean qualifier Alexa Guarachi 7-5, 6-4.

Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland swept past local wildcard Zhang Ling 6-1, 6-2 to set up a second-round meeting with former US Open champion Sam Stosur.

Top seed Elina Svitolina also came through a tough test against Zarina Dyas, eventually winning 6-4, 7-6 (5).

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