Caroline Wozniacki moved a step closer to a first Grand Slam title with a comprehensive victory over 19th seed Magdalena Rybarikova at the Australian Open on Sunday. The second seed handed out a tennis masterclass to the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist 6-3, 6-0 in 63 minutes of mesmerising shot-making on Rod Laver Arena.
"She really mixes up the pace, I just tried to calm down, get my returns in and wait for the opportunities to attack," she said after a ruthless rout of the Slovak. "I think you can tell my confidence is pretty good at the moment."
Rybarikova wanted to lay down an early marker and broke a sluggishly-starting Wozniacki to 15 in the third game. It only served to wake up the world number two and she made amends straight away.
Relentless pressure enabled the Dane to convert a fifth break back point via a delicately angled backhand across court. Wozniacki was moving much the better of the two and broke again before a delicious disguised backhand drive down the line took her to set point.
It was followed by a forehand winner, her 14th of the set, as the opener was secured in 36 minutes. Rybarikova had a breakout year in 2017 as she reached her first Slam semi-final and got into the world's top 20.
But she was being given a tennis lesson by the Dane, who did not concede a point in the first two games of the second set as she sprinted into a 2-0 lead. A rasping Wozniacki forehand return secured another break for a 3-0 lead.
A Wozniacki service game hold from 0-30 sucked the last ounces of energy and resistance from Rybarikova who surrendered her serve again to love as her dominant opponent ran her ragged. Wozniacki has only dropped one set in the tournament but was perilously close to going out at 1-5, 15-40 to Jana Fett in their second-round encounter.
There was no chance of a repeat Sunday as she closed out, having won 10 of the last 11 games of the match. She will face the unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro from Spain for a place in the semi-finals.