NEW YORK Caroline Wozniacki cruised into the second round of the U.S. Open Tuesday with a 6-3 6-1 demolition of Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives, sending a signal that the world's top-ranked player may be ready to claim her first grand-slam victory.
Wozniacki, the U.S. Open runner-up in 2009, blasted 22 winners and never lost serve to defeat her unseeded opponent in one-hour and 20 minutes.
The 21-year-old, top-seeded Dane was particularly effective at the net, winning 14 of 17 points under sunny skies at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"It was important for me to serve well, and I thought I started quite a few good points with my serve," said Wozniacki.
"She's not a very tall player, so I tried to open up the court a little bit more and then tried to take advantage of the short balls that I got."
Wozniacki lost to Kim Clijsters in the final two years ago, her best appearance at grand slam. She politely gritted her teeth at having to defend her status as world number one.
"It's definitely an honor, and it's a dream for me to be there," Wozniacki said. "I'm trying to stay up there as long as possible, and doesn't really matter what people are saying.
"No one can ever take that away from me. I'm number one in the world. I have been there for 46 weeks. So that's a great achievement."
In the second round, Wozniacki will play either Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands or Russian Elena Vesnina.
Wozniacki played poorly during the post-Wimbledon summer hardcourt season but tuned up for the year's final grand slam by winning the tour stop in New Haven last week.
The 5-foot-10 Dane said she is pleased with her career results, despite the lack of a grand slam crown.
"I won six tournaments this year already," she said. "I should definitely not be complaining. I'm in a good position. I'm in a good spot.
"I'm happy, healthy, and I can go out there and compete. That's what's most important. I'm winning a lot of matches, which is why we practice. We practice to win.
"I've won a lot of matches and that's what satisfies me."
Wozniacki told reporters she enjoyed playing the last month outside the grand slam spotlight.
"It's actually been nice the last three, four weeks because I haven't gotten any questions about number one," she said with a smile.
(Writing by Steve Ginsburg. Editing by Julian Linden)