2014 Rogers Cup Montreal Photo Gallery

MONTREAL – Photographer Marc-Andre Gauthier snapped photos of the Rogers Cup in Montreal this week, here is a gallery of his photos from the tournament so far. More to come.

Follow his photo coverage of the tournament on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.


Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | August 8th, 2014

(August 8, 2014) MONTREAL – The Montreal tennis crowd was treated to great matches on Thursday and Friday, as eight of the twelve presented singles matches which went the distance. Here is what stood out from those two days.

Patience is a Virtue (or XXV)

The Montreal-based Williams Sisters fans really didn’t have much to cheer about in the past, as Venus had never showed up to the event and Serena had not played a match at Uniprix Stadium in over 14 years. But patience is a virtue, and the crowd will now be witnessing a Williams showdown in the first semi-final Saturday. A dream match for the tournament organizers, who were understandably worried for the tournament’s storylines after the early defeat of local star Genie Bouchard.

Both sisters had a tough road to the semis: while Serena battled through Lucie Safarova and good friend Caroline Wozniacki (rallying from 6-4, 4-2 down) respectively, Venus played two long battles against Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro. The Kerber-Venus match, played under the lights on Thursday, produced some standing-ovation worthy tennis, as both players fought skin and teeth to get the win.

Asked about her previous record of 0-4 at the Rogers Cup, all in Toronto, Venus replied: ‘If I would have known these last 20 years all I had to do was come to Montréal that would be the trick to winning in Canada, I would have done it a long time ago! You live, you learn. Sometimes it takes a couple of decades, but it was worth it!’. This semi-final will be the 25th encounter between the two sisters, Serena having the edge 14-10. It will be their first match in over a year, and only their second meeting since 2009.


Only three of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals in this 2014 edition. After the surprise of Bouchard’s loss to Rogers in round 2, four top seeds lost in thrilling matches on Thursday: Petra Kvitova (2) against Makarova, Maria Sharapova(4) to Suarez-Navarro (14), Kerber (6) to Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic (7) to Coco Vandeweghe. For Sharapova and Kvitova, signs of rust were apparent in their first tournament on the summer hardcourts, as they couldn’t hit through their feisty, more consistent opponents. Other than Serena Williams, only Agniezska Radwanska (3) and Victoria Azarenka (8) sneaked through the quarters, facing each other in a pretty forgettable quarterfinal on Friday night. Azarenka was clearly hampered by a knee injury, and after missing most of 2014 already, things did not look good for the Belarussian out there. For Radwanska, this is her third semifinal in Canada and she will be looking to reach her first finals against Makarova in the night semifinal.

From Q to QF

Coco Vandeweghe was the revelation of the 2014 Rogers Cup, playing an astonishing 13 sets of tennis in 6 days. After getting comfortably through qualifying by winning two matches on the first Sunday, she handled Shuai Zhang in the first round, before beating the ‘Serbian Sisters’, 9th seed Ivanovic and 7th seed Jankovic, in consecutive battles to reach the quarterfinals. Both matches were classics, and probably two of the most dramatic of the week.

In her post-match interviews this week, she mentioned setting the goal to beat a top 10 player by the end of 2014: she accomplished just that, twice in less than 24 hours, and will be a player to watch for the upcoming hardcourt swing. Her big serve and forehand combination couldn’t get her through Makarova in the quarterfinals, who was solid throughout, but did impress the Montreal crowd. With her pure athleticism and a coach that became a star this week for his honest, very honest, feedback on her matches, Vandeweghe could well be on the way for a seeding position at the 2015 Australian Open.

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.


Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?


Serena Williams

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque

MONTREAL – After Tuesday’s Genie-gate and multiple blackouts, Wednesday seemed to follow the script, until a match that lasted until…Day 04. Here is a wrap up of today’s events.

Besties on cruise control

The friendship between Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki seemed to evolve over the past few weeks, especially after both were seen hanging out in Miami after the infamous ‘Wozillroy’ breakup. In her news conference yesterday, Wozniacki was all praise for the American No. 1, stating she was ‘incredible, both on and off the court’, ‘a fantastic person’ and that she ‘loved her personality’. Both players, who are set to play in the quarterfinals, had a near perfect match today, getting comfortably to the third round. On one hand, Wozniacki didn’t have to do much against Czech Koukalova, and won 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour, confirming her great post-breakup form. As for Williams, who was playing her first match in Montreal since retiring in the 2000 finals, she only gave 2 games to veteran and 2011 Us Open champion Samantha Stosur. It was one of Serena’s best performances of 2014, being aggressive and not letting the Australian in the match. Serena’s French was also near perfect in the on-court interview, and it seems that her relationship with the Montreal crowd, which could have been tense after a few boos in 2000, is now back on track.


Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza had played a dramatic quarterfinal match at the French Open this year, and this second round was certainly tricky for the 4th seed. Playing in her first hardcourt match of the summer, Sharapova had no room for rust, facing one of the most promising youngsters on the WTA. Despite finishing up a dramatic and intense three-set match against local Stephanie Dubois very late last night, it seemed like Muguruza wanted revenge on her loss in Paris. Hitting her signature clean and flat groundies, she kept Maria off-balance and on the run, and built a nice 6-4 2-1 lead. Serving at 40-0, it seemed like the Spaniard could pull off the upset. But arguably no other player is as resilient as Maria Sharapova, and she proved it again. Winning 11 of the last 13 games, Maria used her first serve well, only losing 4 points when her first strike when in, and shook off the rust to reach the third round. Asked in the post-match interview what she was most happy about, Sharapova had a very wise answer: ‘You know, when you’re able to finish stronger than your start, that’s always a positive because you give yourself an opportunity to keep playing in the tournament. When you’re in that position, there’s always another chance to work in another match to improve and get better’. That next chance will be against Carla Suarez-Navarro, Muguruza’s doubles partner, who will certainly show Maria a very different type of ball striking.

12.36am (or the Never-Ending Day).

What happens when you add up two third-set tiebreaks, two short rain delays, Ana Ivanovic, Coco Vandeweghe and substract a doubles match? A 12.36am finish. Court Banque Nationale today saw a series of long, very long matches and play ended in possibly one of the latest hours recorded at the Rogers Cup, when qualifier Coco Vandeweghe completed her 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 6-4 second round win against 9th seed Ana Ivanovic after close to three hours of play. It all started with 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova and qualifier Heather Watson, who played for more than 3 hours. The Brit, who led 6-2 4-0, couldn’t finish the match in the second set, which she lost 7-6. She then passively let go of a 5-2 lead in the third set, only to finally win in an error-filled third set tiebreak. Watson will face 8th seed Azarenka in the third round. Then came in Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens, who both didn’t want to be overshadowed in the drama department. The American won a tight tiebreak in the first, only to get broken once in the second and lose it 6-4. Despite some spirited fight, Stephens could not manage to repeat her feat of the first set, losing the last three points, also in a third set tiebreak, this time in 3 hours 15 minutes. In the third match (and only two-setter of the court today), Venus Williams dominated young qualifier Yulia Putintseva. Venus was solid, especially on her forehand, while Putintseva was hoping for mistakes. Venus was about to serve for the match at 6-3 5-2, but a rain delay interrupted the match for 45 minutes, only to add to the delay of the final singles match. Venus finished it quickly when the play resumed and will face 6th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany in tomorrow’s night session match. Then came in Coco and Ana, who played one of the best matches of 2014: hard serves, big fight, huge shot-making and just good ol’ WTA drama.


Other results:
2nd round
[15] Lucie Safarova (CZE) def. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-4 6-2
[14] Carla Suarez Navarro (SPA) def. [LL] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-1 3-6 6-3
[6] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-1
Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Madison Keys (USA) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [LL] Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3 6-2
[2] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.


Montreal Day 2 Wrap-up: Chaos

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

Montreal Day 2 Wrap-up: Chaos.

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque | August 5th, 2014

Here are a few notes from what was a chaotic but memorable, crazy but entertaining day of tennis at the Montreal Rogers Cup.

The Party is (Already) Over…

Montreal is known for its bagels, but no one expected Eugenie Bouchard to be on the receiving end of two of them last night. In her first match since the Wimbledon final, the local favorite was rusty and couldn’t play her game, losing 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 against American qualifier Shelby Rogers. The pressure on Bouchard this week probably was just too much: everywhere in the streets, in every single interview with players, only one name was on everyone’s lips: Genie. While Bouchard seems to enjoy playing such a role and enjoys the spotlight, she concluded herself in her post-match press conference that this week would serve as a learning experience for her as to how to deal with all the off-court attention and media duties. While the Wimbledon finalist never could really find her game, except for a few glimpses in the second set, Rogers was solid throughout and wasn’t dazzled by the loud, raucous and patriotic crowd. This is certainly not what neither the tournament organizers nor the Montreal crowd wanted, but serves as a notice of the risk of over-exposure.

Let there be light!

What does a tournament do when there is a power outage for more than eight hours during the day? Panic, yes. And find ways to get through the day. When the scoreboard went blank in the middle of the Williams/Pavlyuchenkova match at around 1.30pm, people just thought it was a mere unplugged wire, or technical bug. But when the tournament crew realized that over 200 000 homes on Montreal Island were without electricity, and that it would most likely take hours to get resolved, they had to get in resolution mode, and fast. While playing daytime tennis without electricity is somewhat fun, with no scoreboard, umpires yelling the score and pre-2004-no-challenge line calling, a night session obviously needs lights. Especially a night session an entire city has been waiting for, and more than 10 000 people on the way to the site. Hydro-Quebec, the local utility company, came to the rescue: they brought out one of the largest generators they had to power the lights of both Center Court and Court Banque Nationale. But that was it: no lights in corridors, in bathrooms, no food stands. And when the real electricity got back at around 9pm, the entire venue went dark for about a minute, right in the middle of a rally in the Dubois/Muguruza match. It ended up to be quite a memorable moment, with the crowd lighting up their phones in the stands, and turning the stadium into a mini-rock concert.

Here are the best quotes of the day on the power outage:

  • ”I felt like I was playing juniors in Southern California all over again!”, Venus Williams.
  • ”It was so dark in the locker room, we had to use our cellphones for light! And the water was cold!”, Caroline Wozniacki.
  • ”It never happened in my entire career! It gave me a chance to go back home and take a small nap. It’s something you have to deal with, it’s part of the game.”
  • And last, but not least, poor Eugene Lapierre, tournament director, who probably had the worst day of his career: ”I wish no one would have to experience this. I wish this to no one.” Gotta feel for him.

Bonjour, Venus!

In the twenty (impressive) years of her career, Venus Williams had never played the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and never won a match in four tries in Toronto. She had a good test in the first round against Russian Pavlyuchenkova, who had won two of her previous four meetings. A large crowd showed up for her first appearance, almost filling up the 11 000 seats Center Court and participating loudly in the match, despite most being a bit lost by the lack of a scoreboard. The American had a close to perfect start, hitting deep, dominant shots and creating the Pavlyuchenkova error, winning the first set 6-1. A few errors then started creeping in her game in the second set, and the Russian started being more aggressive, leveling the match by winning the second set 6-3. In the third set, Venus opened up the court by using more angles, finishing off with flawless swing volleys. Reeling off the last four games, Venus set up a second round match against Putintseva, surprising winner yesterday against Pennetta.

It’s good to be back!

Former winners Caroline Wozniacki (2010) and Ana Ivanovic (2006) both won easily today in their first round matches. Caroline Wozniacki prevailed 6-1 6-1 against Daniela Hantuchova, managing to turn defense into offense incredibly well. A vintage performance for the 2010 winner, who, after the loss of Genie Bouchard, has an open draw to meet good friend Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. During her late afternoon match, Ana Ivanovic, the 2006 winner, showed the form that saw her barely upset Serena Williams last week in Stanford against Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, only losing three games. Despite some spirited fight from her opponent late in the match, the Serb accumulated forehand winners and looked like a real contender to reach the final weekend. Certainly two players to watch over the week.

The Return of the Swiss Miss

Montreal and Martina Hingis have a love affair. The Swiss Miss, with her French speeches, constant grin and classic game, always was a crowd favorite in the city and always performed well at the Rogers Cup. It was therefore surprising when tournament directors decided to schedule her doubles return on Court 5, one of the smallest match courts of the venue. Without a surprise, the stands were packed from warm up to match point, when Hingis and partner Pennetta faced the tough team of Rodionova/Kudryatseva. Despite a strong start and 3-0 lead, Hingis/Pennetta lost the first set 6-4, with numerous errors from Pennetta. In the second, Rodionova started being her usual self: complaining about calls, holding her hand up when her opponents were about to serve, etc. This seemed to fuel Hingis and Pennetta, who took the second set 6-2, pretty comfortably. Without much of a surprise, Rodionova/Kudryatseva decided to take a bathroom break right before the super tiebreak: during those 10 minutes, Hingis and Pennetta actually had time to rally and practice serves. The strategy to break off the rhythm didn’t pay off, as the crowd favorites led the tiebreak from beginning to end to win it 10-6, proving once more that sometimes, the bad don’t always win. Asked whether she came back for fun, Hingis’ answer was straightforward: ”I don’t come to play one or two matches. I’m here to win the tournament”. Years might go by, but some things don’t change.

Other Results

2nd round:
[8] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-4 2-6 6-4
[3] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) def. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 6-4 6-4

1st round:
Samantha Stosur (AUS) def. [Q] Monica Puig (PUR) 6-2 6-2
Garbine Muguruza (SPA) def. [Q] Stéphanie Dubois (CAN) 6-1 6-7(4) 6-2
[LL] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) def. [Q] Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-2 6-1
[14] Carla Suarez Navarro (SPA) def. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 6-4 6-3
Caroline Garcia (FRA) def. [Q] Karin Knapp (ITA) 6-2 6-7(5) 6-1
Madison Keys (USA) def. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-1 3-2 ret.
[Q] Coco Vandeweghe (USA) def. Shuai Zhang (CHN) 6-2 6-4
[LL] Elena Vesnina (RUS) def. Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-4 1-6 7-6(1)
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. Romina Oprandi (SUI) 6-4 6-0
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) def. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-0 4-6 6-2

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.


Montreal Day 01 Wrap-Up: Mixed Feelings for the Seeds


Sabine Lisicki (Photo by Maria Noble)

Sabine Lisicki (Photo by Maria Noble)

Montreal Day 01 Wrap-Up: Mixed Feelings for the Seeds

Written by Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque | August 4th, 2014

MONTREAL – Four seeds were in action on the first day of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and only two of them got through to the second round. Here is a wrap-up of the events of the day.

Lisicki wins battle of former Grand Slam finalists

The first round match between Sabine Lisicki and 13th seed Sara Errani was the most intriguing on paper: two players, one a natural attacker and the other one a high-level defender, and two former Grand Slam finalists. The German has struggled in 2014, except for her cherished Wimbledon tournament, and had never won a match in Montreal in her previous two tries. But she played what could be considered a perfect first set, hitting an outstanding 18 winners to none for her opponent, and came back late in the second to wrap up the match in two sets. This is a very positive win for Lisicki, who will face the winner of the Kuznetsova/Keys first round, another tough-to-call opener, in what is the most open section of the draw.

Sorana Cirstea

Points come and go…

Last year, Sorana Cirstea literally came out of nowhere to reach the Rogers Cup final in Toronto, beating back-to-back the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kvitova and Na Li. It was one of the most impressive series of wins of the year, but also a large amount of points all crammed in a single week. It was good enough to keep her in the top 40 all year, but there was a large risk of a major drop in case of an early exit in Montreal. When the draw was made and her first round opponent was known (Czech Lucie Safarova, Wimbledon semifinalist and 15th seed), a few people cringed at the possible impact on her rankings. After an expected 6-4 6-2 win by Safarova today, it was confirmed that Cirstea would most likely drop out of the top 80. A tough road ahead for the Romanian who will now have to fight her way back to the top 50.

Tough night for local wildcards

Françoise Abanda and Aleksandra Wozniak, the two Canadian wildcards of the tournament, had a difficult night on Monday against higher-ranked opponents. While Abanda managed to win a set against 12th-seed Cibulkova in her first ever Rogers Cup main draw, Wozniak struggled to find any rhythm against Sloane Stephens and lost in two quick sets. Abanda, who is only 17, has been climbing up the ranks quickly after a very successful junior career and said herself that she ‘‘played one of [her] best matches ever tonight’’. Usually very-calm-bordering-on-stoic, she showed more emotions tonight, an encouraging signs of things to come. Clearly, this is the first of many more Rogers Cup main draw appearances for her. Wozniak, on the other hand, has had her fair shares of appearances at the Rogers Cup, and this one won’t go down in the books. Simply overplayed for most of the match, she lacked some depth on her shots and her shoulder issues of the past few years were put forth when serving. Asked whether she feels frustrated about being far from her best level, she mentioned that she needs to ‘’work, and work a lot’’ with coach Nathalie Tauziat. The two remaining local hopes, Stéphanie Dubois and Eugenie Bouchard, will play their first matches tomorrow.

Other results

[Q] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) def (12) Flavia Pennetta 7-6 (5) 6-3

Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) def. Alison Riske (USA) 6-1 6-3
Klara Koukalova (CZE) def. Kiki Bertens 7-5 7-6 (5)
[Q] Shelby Rogers (USA) def. [WC] Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 6-4 7-6 (5)
Alize Cornet (FRA) def. Lauren Davis (USA) 6-3 7-5
[Q] Heather Watson (GBR) def. [Q] Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 6-4 5-7 6-4
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) def. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 7-5 7-5


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.

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Montréal, Canada
August 7-13, 2012

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


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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