2014/07/11

Getting Started in Montreal

By Marc-Andre Gauthier

 

(August 3, 2013) MONTREAL, Canada – As we await the beginning of main draw matches in Montreal, tennis fanatics are warming up with some very exciting qualification matches and top player practices.

 

Lukasz Kubot

Lukasz Kubot

Let’s Get Started

First to hit Centre Court, on Saturday were Erik Chvojka from Canada and Lukasz Kubot of Poland. Sitting at the 456th in the world rankings, the Canadian wasn’t really expected to win. In fact, Kubot, ranked 67th, played clinical tennis and hardly made any major mistakes, especially in his service games, making it even harder for Chvojka to break through. The highlight of this match happened on the very last point when Kubot lobbed Chvojka. The ball was called out. The umpire decided to overrule it leaving the crowd and Chvojka in disbelief. Looked fairly out actually. Otherwise it was simply a good, close tennis match with a great atmosphere. In the meantime, on National Bank Court, Peter Polansky dismissed the 8th seed Lukas Lacko 6-4 6-4 ! He’s the only Canadian who made it through the first qualification round.

 

Andy MurrayRafael Nadal

I Can Be Your Hero 

Rafael Nadal and  Andy Murray followed on Center, shortly after, for a casual and crowd pleasing practice. Given that the first weekend at the Rogers Cup is Family Weekend (Free entrance to the grounds and most courts), having star players practice on a big stage provides the kids with the opportunity to watch some of the players they look up to for free. Parents love it, kids love it.

Jack Sock

American Hotdog

The match between American players Jack Sock and Tim Smyczek had everything in it. Good stuff and bad stuff. Just like a good old hotdog! From Smyczek’s incapacity to sustain a five shot rally in the first set to Sock’s apparent fatigue in the second set, you just never could have predicted the outcome. But, live, the thrill and uncertainty made it enjoyable for fans. Sock won 6-2 3-6 6-3.Tim Smyczek

 

 

 

 

Just Sayin’ 

I’ve had the chance to travel a bit and attend tournaments like Wimbledon, Roland Garros, Toronto, and Brisbane. But, for me, there’s nothing like Montreal. It’s as though the whole city is breathing tennis for a week. Centre Court is usually full attendance within the first two days when Canucks hit the court, it feels like a Davis Cup match. It’s thunderous and vibrant. There has to be a reason why Wozniak, Dancevic, Dubois and Raonic have been doing so well, here, in Montreal. Okay, I’m getting very subjective now. If you’re considering travelling to attend a tennis tournament, Montreal shall not disappoint you.

 

Marc-Andre Gauthier is in Montreal this week photographing the Rogers Cup for Tennis Panorama News.

 

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Serena Williams, Roddick, Raonic and Radwanska Participate in Toronto Face-Off (Photo Gallery)

(November 16, 2012) TORONTO – A crowd of 6,558 came out to watch Milos Raonic, Andy Roddick, Serena Williams and Agniezska Radwanska in the Sport Chek Face-Off exhibition match on Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

The recently retired American Roddick topped Canadian Raonic 6-4, 4-6, 10-7. Roddick entertained the crown with his impressions of Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

When asked about if Roddick should consider a comeback, Raonic said “I hope not.”

“What kind of shape am I in now? Well round is a shape,” Roddick joked. “I had a very detailed retirement plan, and I feel like I’ve met every aspect of it – a lot of golf, a lot of carbs, a lot of fried food, and some booze, occasionally – I’ve been completely.

No. 3 and 15-time major champion Serena Williams lost to No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4 in a rematch of the most recent Wimbledon final.

The evening began with a “hit and giggle” mixed doubles match between Team Canada represented by Raonic and Radwanska versus Team USA’s Roddick and Williams.

The players were joined by various Canadian celebrities including CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulos, Adrian Grenier of the HBO show “Entourage,” “Bachelor” star Brad Smith and CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.

All photos by Marc-André Gauthier

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Newfound success in North America for Li and Kvitova

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

MONTREAL – Both Li Na and Petra Kvitova came back from a set down in their respective semifinals on Sunday to reach their first ever summer North American hardcourt final. While both were bumped out in the third round last year, they showed great resistance to difficult conditions this week as they advanced to their first ever Rogers Cup final.

In the first semifinal of the day in Montreal, the opening set went to Lucie Safarova, who was standing on the baseline and redirecting Li’s pace perfectly. The Czech had been particularly impressive this week, especially in her third round win in two tiebreaks over Samantha Stosur, probably the highest quality match of the tournament. Already a two-time quarterfinalist, Safarova was in her first semifinal at the Rogers Cup and aiming at reaching her second Premier final of the year.

But tenth seed Li had other things in mind as she turned the tables around in the second set, breaking early and holding serve comfortably to take it 6-3. Keeping the control of the match, she was the first player to obtain break points in the third, but inspired play by Safarova kept the set on serve. This seemed to upset Li, who started making multiple unforced errors, especially off the forehand wing, handing the Czech two consecutive breaks and a 5-1 lead. Out of nowhere, the Chinese then staged an impressive comeback, cleaning up her play and reeling off six consecutive games to win the match as Safarova collapsed.

But all isn’t gloomy for Safarova, as this performance will mark her entrance in the top 20 of the professional rankings for the first time in her career. For Li, she reaches her third final of the year, still hoping to lift the winner trophy in 2012.

But she has a strong task ahead of her, as Petra Kvitova is playing some of her best hardcourt tennis. After barely losing in the second round to Pervak, the fifth seed defeated Marion Bartoli, Tamira Paszek and Caroline Wozniacki to reach her first final in North America.

In the semifinal, she managed to hit through a very solid Wozniacki, who was finding some of her 2010 form on a court where she has never lost. The Dane won the first set 6-3, but then saw the Czech lower her unforced error count and keep constant pressure to force a third set, a first in their encounters which had all been in straights.

As it is now customary this week in Montreal, some rain interrupted play right before the start of the final set. Both players came back on court around an hour later, as Kvitova started where she left. Taking a fast 5-1 lead, she managed to do what Safarova couldn’t, as she prevented a comeback from Wozniacki and closed out the match 3-6 6-2 6-3.

This final will be the fourth match between Kvitova and Li, with the latter leading 2-1. Their only match on hardcourt happened earlier this year in Sydney, when the Chinese prevailed in three tough sets.

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

ROGERS CUP
Montréal, Canada
August 7-13, 2012
$2,168,400/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, August 12, 2012
Singles – Semifinals
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (7) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 36 62 63
(10) Li Na (CHN) d. (16) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 36 63 75

Doubles – Final
Jans-Ignacik/Mladenovic (POL/FRA) d. (3) Petrova/Srebotnik (RUS/SLO) 75 26 107 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Monday, August 13, 2012
Central (from 19.00hrs)
1. Singles Final: Petra Kvitova vs. Li Na

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Third round completed at the Rogers Cup in Montreal

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

Montreal – While the showers interrupted play late in the afternoon for the third consecutive day, the quarterfinals were set as Agniezska Radwanska, Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova notably advanced in Montreal. But it was local star Aleksandra Wozniak who stole the thunder as she got through in two sets over American Christina McHale.

In a match completed over two days, Wozniak became the first Canadian woman to reach the quarterfinals in over 20 years with her 7-6 6-3 win. Interestingly, it was Patricia Hy-Boulais who was last to achieve that feat and her husband, Yves Boulais, is now part of the Tennis Canada coaching team and thus advises Wozniak at times. ‘’I’ve always come with my friends to watch the best players in the world play in this big tournament’’, Wozniak revealed. ‘’This tournament means a lot to me and I’ll be ready to do my best in the quarterfinals tonight’’.

She will have a tough task ahead against her nemesis and almost-homonym Caroline Wozniacki, against whom she has a 1-7 losing record. The Dane had to battle hard to get through Varvara Lepchenko, but prevailed 4-6 6-3 6-4 in over two and a half hours, right before the first drops hit Uniprix Stadium.

Also in the third round was Petra Kvitova, who had probably the toughest match of the higher seeds against Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli. But the Czech rose to the challenge and played one of her trademark flawless performances to advance with a very convincing 6-1 6-1 win. Kvitova never let Bartoli in the match by taking control early in the rallies and saving all three break chances she faced. She put herself up as the one to beat this week and will next face Austrian Tamira Paszek, who is bringing her grasscourt form to hardcourts in her second career quarterfinal appearance in Montreal.

Paszek is joined by Roberta Vinci as the only two unseeded players in the quarterfinals. After being on the brink of defeat in the first round against Wickmayer and handing out a double bagel to Ivanovic in her second match, the Italian stayed solid against sixth seed Angelique Kerber, winning 6-2 7-6(7). The final quarterfinal match will feature Chinese Na Li, who overpowered French Open finalist Sara Errani 6-4 6-2, and second seed Angieszka Radwanska, who kept her hopes of getting the number one ranking alive by defeating Chanelle Scheepers 6-2 6-4.

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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Montreal Quotes of the Day: You are Always on my Mind

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

MONTREAL – Rainy days are tough for everyone, but the players seemed especially affected by today’s grey conditions. Each one of them seemed to only have one thing on her mind…

 

Roberta Vinci’s backhand is one of the rare one-handed backhands on the WTA and she used it perfectly on Thursday against Ana Ivanovic, especially with a particular type of spin…Is that what made her win today?

 

-    ‘’My slice probably, yes.  She doesn’t like my slice.  I play a lot of slice.  I play all the time slice, so probably this was the key.  She was a little bit confused about my slice.’’

 

Wozniak, on her side, was concentrated on doing the same thing on every point: be concentrated.

 

-    ‘’I tried to stay concentrated for every point, be steady and hit hard from the baseline.’’

 

-          ‘’I stayed concentrated on every point, one at a time.’’

 

-          ‘’I’m happy I kept my concentration on every point.’’

 

-          ‘’I stayed concentrated on what I had to do, on the strategy I had.’’

 

Even after her loss, Jelena Jankovic really was worried about our comprehension this afternoon. She, you know, said ‘You Know’ exactly thirty-two times in, you know, her six answers. Here is the best example:

 

‘’You know, there was a lot of things that were in my control that I didn’t do and, you know, she took advantage of that.  She took her opportunities, and, you know, obviously won the match.  So it was, you know, difficult.’’

 

While those answers seem repetitive, it doesn’t seem that bad compared to the weather forecast for the next days: rain, rain, rain and more rain….

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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Tough afternoon for the seeds in Montreal

Ana Ivanovic

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

MONTREAL – While six seeds were in action in this rainy day at the Rogers Cup, only ninth seed Marion Bartoli booked her place in the third round so far. Hoping to join the Frenchwoman are Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova, whose matches were interrupted by rain late in the afternoon. For Sabine Lisicki, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, their Montreal campaign ended early as they were upset in their first match of the tournament.

 

Two years ago, Ana Ivanovic was in the middle of a media controversy in Montreal: denied a main draw wildcard which she needed due to a dramatic drop in the rankings, the 2006 winner had clearly stated her discontent at the Rogers Cup organizers. When the order of play was released yesterday, it felt like the story would finally be forgotten: Ivanovic was preferred to Wozniacki or Radwanska to open the day session on Center Court, in an obvious redemption from the Montreal staff. But a shocking 6-0 6-0 loss from the Serb to Italian Roberta Vinci just added fuel to the fire.

 

Ivanovic looked off right away, making numerous unforced errors. On the opposite side of the net, Vinci stayed consistent and varied her shots well, especially using her very effective slice. The Italian never let Ivanovic in the match, not allowing a single break point to the Serb. In the end, the match lasted 44 minutes and Ivanovic won only 21 points, losing for the second straight year to Vinci in Canada. While obviously upset after her loss, Ivanovic was still playful in her press conference: referring to the two ‘wheels’ she just received, she even joked about ‘’going back home on a bike’’.

 

Maybe she can give a ride to her fellow countrywoman Jelena Jankovic, whose 2012 struggles continued against Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak. Despite starting the match with two consecutive forehand winners, the former number one couldn’t find her rhythm as Wozniak kept hitting deep and hard from both sides. Despite losing her four previous meeting against Jankovic, the local wildcard seemed confident from the get-go, easily winning the first set 6-2. While the Serb showed signs of greater form after the rain delay late in the second set, it was too little too late as Wozniak closed out the match to reach the Rogers Cup third round for the first time of her career.

 

For German Sabine Lisicki, things turned painful on Court 9 as she got injured while being up 4-2 in her third set to Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. Despite fighting through the pain, the fifteenth seed lost the last four games of the match, making Suarez Navarro a surprising guest in the third round. Other action saw second seed Radwanska struggle against German Mona Barthel: the rain interrupted their match at 2-2 in the third set. Moreover, Varvara Lepchenko was only one game away from upsetting Dominika Cibulkova, but the American was stopped by a rain shower while serving for the match at 6-4 5-4. Also on court were unseeded Voskoboeva and McHale in a close third set.

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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Dramatic day in Montreal

 

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

MONTREAL – Five seeds and local star Eugenie Bouchard were in action on Wednesday at the Rogers Cup, but no one expected so many dramatic twists and turns on this hot and humid day in Montreal. While Sara Errani, Lucie Safarova, Varvara Lepchenko and Shuai Peng had routine two set wins, many players had to go to distance in those difficult conditions.

 

It was the case for Petra Kvitova, who had been quite clear in her pre-tournament interview: outdoor hardcourts aren’t her favorite surface, especially those of North America. It showed as the 2011 Wimbledon champion dug deep against Kazakh Ksenia Pervak in the first night match. With the help of a well-timed rain delay, as well as mistimed double faults from Pervak, the Czech ended a winner in a long and tedious 4-6 7-6(0) 6-0 battle.

 

And this was only the peak of the iceberg as such drama happened all around the grounds all day long. Indeed, Mona Barthel, Christina McHale and Kiki Bertens all fought hard to get through in three long sets: the Dutch qualifier was especially impressive as she upset two-time quarterfinalist Nadia Petrova in 2 hours and 20 minutes. At night, Flavia Pennetta seemed poised for a quick win against Chanelle Scheepers, but she unexpectedly had to withdraw with a right wrist injury while being up 4-1 in the first set. Same happened to Simona Halep, retiring down 5-7 4-4 to Australian Samantha Stosur: the Romanian had led 5-1 in the first with three set points, as well as 4-2 in the second.

 

But the story of the day goes to wild card Eugenie Bouchard, who was facing experienced Israeli Shahar Peer on Center Court. Playing in her second Rogers Cup main draw, the Canadian looked in control of her nerves at the start of the match as she stormed to a quick 2-0 lead. But she couldn’t keep her level up, as Peer stayed consistent and rallied back to take the first 6-3. But Bouchard kept on being aggressive and the pressure finally paid off in the second set: breaking her opponent four times, she forced a third set, creating a large wave of applause from the partisan crowd.

 

With both players playing solid tennis, this close contest went to distance. While Peer seemed more aggravated throughout the set, she managed to stay in the match until five all, where she even got two break chances. But Bouchard confidently won the next four points with clutch serving, taking a 6-5 lead. To the crowd’s delight, eight points later and after saving another game point, the Canadian saw Peer net a backhand and threw her arms up in the air, winning her first ever Rogers Cup match in over two hours. Next up for the local phenom is 10th seed Na Li, in a blockbuster second round match-up.
All second round matches will be completed on Thursday, with top two seeds Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska playing their first match in Montreal. Also playing are Ana Ivanovic, Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Jelena Jankovic, who will start her 2012 campaign against Canada’s best ranked player Aleksandra Wozniak.

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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Montreal Quotes of the Day – “Genie” in a bottle

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

MONTREAL – The name Eugenie Bouchard has been on everyone’s lips in the past month. The 18-year-old from Montreal is on a successful streak, winning 20 of her last 21 matches, including her Wimbledon Junior title and her first WTA quarterfinal in Washington. With an entire nation watching, ‘Genie’ Bouchard kept up her impressive play of the past few weeks by winning her first round at the Rogers Cup against a more experienced opponent, Israel’s Shahar Peer, in three tough sets.

 

Here are some of the best quotes of her news conference on Wednesday.

 

On the pressure of being Canada’s next tennis star: “I don’t think about it. I put a lot of pressure on myself and it’s the only one that counts.’’

 

Is she surprised of her recent successes? ‘’I always believed in myself. It’s amazing to have such wins but I’m not surprised. I know I have the level to do it, and even more. It’s all about hard work.’’

 

About the crowd: ‘’They were very loud. They applauded her double faults, even when she was missing first serves!  They were so loud my ears were hurting at times! It was unbelievable.’’

 

About playing Na Li in the second round: ‘’I’ll go in there without any pressure. I know I can play well, and I know I can win if I play my best.’’

 

While this tournament saw the emergence of a new star, it also is the last Montreal Rogers Cup for a well-respected champion. After a tough doubles loss today, Marie-Eve Pelletier met the Montreal press probably for one last time…

 

When reminded about her first time in Montreal: ‘’It was about 15 years ago I think. It’s odd to think I was there such a long time ago. When you are a high-level athlete, what you like is not only play for the crowd but also for your friends and family.’’

 

On why she is retiring, despite her recent good results: ‘’Tennis is so tough mentally. It’s easy to look back and want to do things differently. I love to compete, but it’s the rest, like the traveling, that makes it difficult.’’

 

On recently focusing on doubles: ‘’I just loved doubles and was doing well. But I recently had the goal to play one more Grand Slam in singles, which I achieved as I’ll be at the US Open.’’
On what is awaiting her: ‘’I have more challenges ahead of me. I would like to stay in the tennis world, help younger players maybe. Anything that would keep me close to the courts!’’

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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Mixed feelings for local hopefuls in Montreal

Stephanie Dubois

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

MONTREAL – While this Tuesday night started on a high note, it ended on mixed feelings for the Montreal crowd as they saw wild cards Stephanie Dubois and Aleksandra Wozniak playing back-to-back on a night featuring local talent. While Dubois started strong but couldn’t keep up the pace against a higher ranked opponent, Wozniak scraped through a close two-setter against Daniela Hantuchova to secure some Canadian presence in the second round.

 

Dubois was first on court and she came out strong off the block, dominating the rallies and outhitting South African Chanelle Scheepers. After a mere 24 minutes, the player from Laval, Quebec was already up a set against an opponent ranked more than 100 spots higher on the WTA rankings, to the delight of the packed stadium.

 

After five consecutive breaks to start off the second set, Scheepers showed signs of revival as she altered her game to a more conservative defensive style. It paid off right away, forcing Dubois to a less effective attacking game plan. The Canuck felt the pressure, especially on her serve, which she didn’t win in four attempts. On her side, the 41st ranked player held twice in the set to force a third.

 

The first game of the last set confirmed the momentum change: after multiple deuces, Scheepers broke Dubois to win her fifth game in a row. An important feat, as confirmed by the Canadian: ‘’I was indecisive on a few shots and obviously winning this game would have changed the rhythm of the match’’, Dubois later analyzed. Despite loud cheers from the crowd at Uniprix Stadium, the flow of games kept on going for Scheepers, getting through the second round with a  1-6 6-3 6-0 win. Fourteenth seed Pennetta now awaits the South African: it will be the first meeting between the two players.

 

Aleksandra Wozniak then came on court hoping to avenge her fellow countrywoman’s defeat, but Daniela Hantuchova had other plans in mind as she quickly got up a break on Canada’s best ranked player. With great depth, especially on the backhand, Wozniak slowly built her way back in the match, even breaking for a 5-4 lead. While she couldn’t use this chance to serve out the set, the second one at 6-5 proved to be too much for the Slovakian, who couldn’t keep her unforced error tally down.

 

The second set followed a similar path: Hantuchova got the early break, only to see Wozniak get back in the match with some aggressive play. Serving for the match at 5-4, the Canadian showed her first signs of nerves and let her opponent back with a string of errors. For the second set in a row, Hantuchova couldn’t hold at 5-all, giving Wozniak a second look at closing out the match. Despite holding two match points, some shaky forehands prevented the local favorite from ending this close battle. As if this match wasn’t tense enough, a dramatic turn of events saw a sudden shower stop play on Center Court at the start of the tiebreak.

 

While many thought play was done for the night, a few courageous spectators saw the athletes walk back to the dried out court an hour later, at around 10:45, to conclude this match. Twelve points later, at exactly eleven o’clock, Wozniak raised her arms in relief as she confirmed her spot in the second round in an exhausting and thrilling 7-5 7-6(5) win. Next up for the Canadian is Jelena Jankovic, in a repeat of the 2008 second round which saw the Serbian victorious in two sets.

 

Roberta Vinci, Tamira Paszek, Ekaterina Makarova and Sesil Karatantcheva were also noticeable winners of this first day: the Kazakh was especially impressive in a dominant 6-0 6-0 win over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. While first rounds will be completed, wednesday will also see the start of last year’s finalist Samantha Stosur, as well as Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and youngster Eugenie Bouchard.

 

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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Montreal Quotes of the Day – Talk of the Big Boss…

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

MONTREAL – While Serena Williams preferred to skip the Rogers Cup, she is one everyone’s mind in Montreal….

 

Samantha Stosur talked about the American, whom she beat in the US Open final last year: ‘’While she isn’t number one on paper, she is certainly playing like one. But she is human, you can beat her. You have to do certain things perfectly. What they are? I won’t reveal that!‘’

 

Azarenka, who just lost to Williams at the Olympics added: ‘’Is she unbeatable? At the Olympics she was. But not everywhere, we’ll see in the upcoming weeks.’’

 

Kvitova finally summarized everyone’s opinion in a few words: ‘’She’s the Big Boss!’’.

 

Maria Sharapova was particularly talkative earlier today in her pre-tournament interview: here are a few of her best quotes.

 

On Montreal: ‘’I really like this city: it’s very European with everyone speaking French. I hope to have the chance to visit a bit more in the next week.’’

 

On the feeling of completing her personal Grand Slam by winning the French Open earlier this year: ‘’Fortunately, the only four [Grand Slams] I won were all different!’’

 

On the criticism about her grunting, notably: ‘’We will always be criticized. We will always be praised. But it’s part of our job and we get used to it.’’

 

On what makes her different than the player she was at 16 years old: ‘’Definitely experience. Experience in priceless in tennis. I’ve had tougher times, I’ve had wins and losses. When you are younger, you find an easy way out. And then you realize you can’t always do that.’’

 

For most of the players, Montreal marks their first hard court tournament after the grass season. Some are happy about it, some aren’t…

 

Samantha Stosur: ‘’I much prefer this surface! I’ve never played Montreal before, but I’m assuming it won’t be different than Toronto. ‘’

 

Angelique Kerber: ‘’I’m happy to be back on hard courts, my favorite surface. I’m quite ready for the US Open Series.’’

 

Petra Kvitova: ‘’Outdoor hard courts are more difficult for me: the sun, the wind, the changing conditions. Here in North America,the surface is also slower and it’s much more humid.’’

 

Sara Errani: ‘’Hardcourt is not my favorite surface, but I do like it more than grass!’’.

 

And finally, the quote of the day goes to first seed Victoria Azarenka.
Asked about her preparation for this tournament, the world number one replied: ‘’Honestly, I’ve just landed. Right now I’m just trying to think straight.’’

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin blogs for WtaQuebec www.wtaquebec.com, a website promoting local Quebec players. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @earthstroke, follow his Montreal coverage on @TennnisNewsTPN.

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