Tennis: Caroline Wozniacki senses 'great' Aussie Open despite Auckland final loss to Julia Goerges

Caroline Wozniacki is expected to rise to world No. 2 when the new rankings are announced on Jan 8, 2018.
Caroline Wozniacki is expected to rise to world No. 2 when the new rankings are announced on Jan 8, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

AUCKLAND (AFP) - Caroline Wozniacki declared she was preparing for a "great" Australian Open, as she closed in on regaining the world top ranking despite a surprise defeat in the WTA Auckland Classic final on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Dane is projected to rise to No. 2 in the world when the new tennis rankings are released on Monday and if results go her way in Australia she could make a record-setting return to No. 1, a position she last held six years ago.

The current record for the longest gap between being ranked No. 1 is held by Serena Williams who spent five years and 29 days off the top spot between Aug 10, 2003 and Sept 8, 2008.

Although beaten 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) by world No. 14 Julia Goerges in the Auckland final, Wozniacki said her preparation for Melbourne - the year's opening Grand Slam tournament - was on track.

"I've got a lot of matches under my belt this week, it was the preparation I hoped for," she said.

"Now I can take a day off tomorrow and fly to Melbourne and get used to courts over there, and the conditions, and hopefully it's going to be a great couple of weeks.

"Everyone wants to be No. 1, but it's something I've done before and obviously it would be nice to do it again, but honestly I think i'm just thinking about being in the finals, holding trophies, lifting trophies."

Wozniacki started last year ranked 19th and by the end of the year, after winning the WTA Finals, she had risen to No. 3.

Meanwhile, Goerges is expected to rise from 14th to 12th when the next rankings come out as she enjoys a rich vein of form having won three consecutive tournaments.

She is on a 14-match winning streak with her success in Auckland following victories in Moscow and Zhuhai WTA tournaments late last year.

The 29-year-old German troubled Wozniacki with a big forehand that produced service breaks at the start of each set and a booming serve that delivered 11 aces.

Goerges dropped her serve once, at 4-3 in the second set, but never felt her form was dropping.

"It means you have to be there right away in the next game. I didn't break her but I showed her I was still there and I was very happy that I could serve well at the end," she said.

Head-to-head, Goerges leads Wozniacki 6-4.