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Beyond the Baseline

Caroline Wozniacki: I'm not just Rory McIlroy's girlfriend

Caroline Wozniacki Caroline Wozniacki made a last-minute decision to add the Family Circle Cup to her schedule. (Alan Diaz/AP)

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Caroline Wozniacki defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-1 in her opening match at the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday. The 2011 champion set up an intriguing clash with former top-10 player Andrea Petkovic, who defeated Vania King 7-5, 6-4. It will be the first match between the two since 2011, with Wozniacki leading the head-to-head 2-1.

Wozniacki was a late wild-card entrant after a loss in her second match at the Sony Open left her twiddling her thumbs. Based on her original schedule, the loss meant a four-week break until her next tournament, in Stuttgart, Germany. But instead of returning to Europe to train, she decided to play here. It probably didn't hurt that she's planning to attend the Masters in Augusta, Ga., next week to support boyfriend Rory McIlroy.

"I hope people see me as more than just Rory's girlfriend," she said. "I hope they know me from my tennis. So I'm not just a WAG, so they say."

It's a happy return to Charleston for the Dane, who says she prefers the sticky green clay because it rewards her hard-court style in a way that the slicker red European clay does not.

"The faster players have an advantage on courts where you don't just keep sliding," Wozniacki explained, "because if you keep sliding you lose seconds and you lose time and it's not as big an advantage to be fast."

Interestingly, on the subject of her coaching relationship with her father, Piotr, Wozniacki is committed to sticking with the set-up until she retires.

"Obviously, it's worked pretty well," Wozniacki said, "I've done pretty well in my career so far and I have a very close relationship with my dad. He's coached me since I started playing. I like it this way and I'm pretty sure that this is how it's going to be until I finish playing because I feel like this is the way I can get the most out of my tennis."
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