Wozniacki rallies to reach Toronto second round

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki speaks to the media following her win over Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in the first round of the WTA Toronto tournament

Former champion Caroline Wozniacki battled into the second round of the elite WTA tournament in Toronto on Monday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Yulia Putintseva.

Wozniacki, seeded 15th, shook off an early break of serve, rallying from 2-4 down in the opening set to book her second-round berth in 90 minutes.

"In the beginning, I had a really tough time returning her serves for some reason so I stepped back a little bit," Wozniacki said. "She can make you move around and get out of place and I found a way to recover and win it."

The Dane, who lifted the WTA's Canadian Premier-level title in 2010 when the tournament was in Montreal, hasn't always thrived in the years in which Toronto hosted, although she did make it to the final in 2017.

"I'm just happy to be here and win another match here and get a good start," Wozniacki said. "We'll see how it goes.

The top eight seeds in the key US Open tuneup receive first round byes -- a group led by world number one Ash Barty of Australia and No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan.

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams -- beaten by the Romanian in the All England Club final -- also have the first round off.

But wild card Maria Sharapova lent some star power to the opening day with a scheduled night match against 16th-seeded Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

Ranked 82nd in the world after another season marred by injury, Sharapova is contesting her first event since retiring with a left forearm injury in the first round at Wimbledon, when she was trailing Pauline Parmentier 0-5 in the third set.

She had missed more than four months in the wake of right shoulder surgery when she returned for the grass court season this year.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki speaks to the media following her win over Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in the first round of the WTA Toronto tournament