2014/04/24

Sorana Cirstea: Focused on Improvement and Full of Belief

Cirstea Press

By Brodie Elgin

(August 8, 2013) TORONTO – When people refer to the “power game” in women’s tennis today, they often base it off of their experience with women’s tennis in the 1990s or the serve and volley days of the 1980s and prior. Not only are the racquet technologies of today different, but players are more fit and strong, and most women play their games from the baseline. It has been a gradual upward correlation between big hitting and big success.

 

While some of the top players in the game, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, and Maria Sharapova hit the ball with incredible pace, ripping the cover off the ball isn’t an exclusively top 5 trait. Sorana Cirstea is known for her big ground strokes. Her blistering forehand is even more impressive courtside, so much so that it often leaves fans unfamiliar with her oohing and aahing at the sight of her first few big shots.

 

Back on her beloved hard courts for the first time since Miami, Cirstea made an impressive run to the Stanford semifinals and then lost in her quarterfinal match in Washington before heading to Toronto. Her impressive form from Stanford has continued in Toronto as she won two of the biggest matches of her season, defeating two former world number ones Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic in under 24 hours to reach the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank.

 

After saving two match points against Wozniacki, Cirstea reeled off 15 straight points, including the second set tiebreak to love. “I kind of started to take charge, you know, and be in control of the points.” She looked primed to control the third set with chances to hold and consolidate a break to take a 1-4 lead. However, she was eventually broken and quickly found herself locked at 3-3. Instead of letting frustrations boil over, she took a walk to the backboard, put her hands on her hips and gave herself a talking to. It worked, and holding twice she eventually broke Wozniacki to love as the Dane served at 4-5, and Cirstea took the match 5-7, 7-6(0), 6-4. “I’m proud of the fact that from the first moment until the last moment that I had the belief in me.  I feel I earned that victory.  I fought very hard for it.”

Sorana Cirstea

Eventually getting back to the hotel early Thursday morning at 1:30am, Cirstea was faced with the difficult task of taking on Jelena Jankovic, a short 16 hours later. She frustrated Jankovic by going for big winners when the time arrived, and the Serbian failed to effectively counterpunch Cirstea’s overwhelming power. Jankovic became particularly frustrated in the second set, and Cirstea moved on into the quarterfinals, winning 6-3, 6-4. “I think I made a huge step forward today by backing up the win from yesterday, because I think this was one of the issues in the past.  I would have a good win but then couldn’t really back it up.”

After Wimbledon, Cirstea spent two weeks in Las Vegas with the Adidas Player Development Program including Steffi Graf and her husband Andre Agassi, as well as his long time fitness coach Gil Reyes. The fitness training appears to have helped.” I actually woke up, and I was very surprised nothing was hurting, nothing was sore,” Cirstea said about the morning after her Wednesday night marathon match, “so I was like, “oh, this is a new feeling.” The fact that after playing three hours yesterday, today I was actually fine, and I knew Jelena is a tough player and she’s going to make me run a lot.  I was like, Okay, I have no problem.  That’s why I’m here, no?”

 

Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic at 2012 BNP Paribas Open Players Party

Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic at 2012 BNP Paribas Open Players Party

The opportunity to hit with Steffi Graf was not just a fun opportunity, but somewhat of a daunting one as well. “I started tennis because of Steffi Graf, so of course the first time I met her I couldn’t even talk that’s how nervous I was. Even now, every time she comes I’m so nervous,” Sorana laughed. “Every time Steffi comes in, the rhythm that she plays [with], so 45 minutes with her feels like an hour and a half. She’s so professional, still so fit, even now. She’s my idol, and my biggest example. I think I’m quite lucky to interact with them and learn.”

 

While hitting big has never been a problem for the Romanian, Cirstea is hoping to take her game to the next level through improved fitness and mental maturity on court. This is already the ninth time she has won this year after dropping the first set. “Everyone knows that I start a little bit slow. This year I’ve been trying to change a little bit of things, and for me to actually start better from the beginning, and try to get ahead. But right now, I never lose my belief. If you’re better than me, you have to beat me.” The Romanian has looked particularly composed on court this week, with few outbursts towards her coaches, and often catching herself to walk to the back board and tap her racquet on it as a mental reminder to stay focused.

 

While big hitting players can often gain a lot of hype as potential top 10 players, Cirstea insisted she’s more focused on improving the parts of her game that she wants to work on than focusing on a specific ranking number goal. “I’m enjoying more, and I’m learning more things about myself.  I think I grew up and matured along the way.  I have been through great times, tough times, and I’m happy that I had all those, because they helped me be stronger and just be a better person and also athlete.”

Brodie Elgin is the writer of mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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Rough Day Session for the Seeds in Montreal

Pospisil 882013

Vasek Pospisil

By Dominique Cambron-Goulet

(August 8) MONTREAL – After the No. 3 player in the world, David Ferrer [3], lost last night 6-2, 6-4 against qualifier Alez Bogomolov Jr., two more seeds Andy Murray [2] and Tomas Berdych [5] lost on Thursday at the Montreal ATP Masters 1000.

Ernests Gulbis

Ernests Gulbis

Murray’s upset came in straight sets against Ernest Gulbis 6-4, 6-3. Murray was broken in the 10th game leaving his opponent with the first set in hand. In the second set, Gulbis broke early and had a 3-0 lead. Murray made the fans believe in a comeback at 3-3, but fell short, losing three straight games. Gulbis said after the match that even if it was a big win, it’s better to keep your expectations really low to stay focused. “You have a good result, you build up a living basically for a couple days in your own dream world. Suddenly it breaks and you’re without confidence. There is no need for that.”

 

Tomas Berdych

Tomas Berdych

Berdych’s upset is on the other hand the story of the day. Canadian Vasek Pospisil continues his great journey through the main draw after ousting John Isner and Radek Stepanek. The winner of the Vancouver ATP 100 tournament just last week relied on his serve (20 aces) to win in three sets 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (5).

The Montreal crowd was once again incredible. People even sat on the stairs to encourage their local favorite. After the first set, ball boys in the crowd started doing the wave and the fans kept doing it at side changes. The crowd was loud and seemed to disturb the players in some rallies. But Berdych said later in interview: “It’s a nice advantage for him, but I think we need that more because that’s why we play tennis!”

The third set was a story by itself as every point was a matter of life and death for the huge crowd gathered on BN court after Murray’s loss. Pospisil broke in the third game of the set with a winner return on 30-40. As he lead the set, the fans thought everything was possible for the Canadian, but Berdych broke him in an exhausting eighth game. After trailing 0-40, Pospisil came back to deuce but never managed to get a game point and Berdych evened things out.

Berdych was pushed to the tiebreak by Pospisil aces and that’s also what made the Canadian win the ultimate game. Serving at 5-6, the Czech hit an unforced error as the crowd got up screaming. To have my first top-10 win here, in front of that crowd, was extremely emotional. This win is the best of my whole career”, said Pospisil in a news conference.

One crazy play happened during the third set. In the seventh game, Tomas Berdych was called for a time violation and hit an underhand serve as he heard the chair umpire’s call. It was an ace but Chair Umpire Damien Dumusois refused it. “I don’t see a reason why the point doesn’t count, said Berdych in press conference. If there’s an explanation, I’m just going to ask the referees. I have no idea what’s the rule.“

Nadal Janowicz 88

In other matches

Rafael Nadal [4] came back from breaks in both sets to win against Wimbledon’s semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz [15] 7-6 (6), 6-4.

Benoit Paire was unable to continue to the quarterfinals after eliminating Stanislas Wawrinka [8] on Wednesday. Qualifier Marinko Matosevic defeated him in a close match 7-6 (7), 6-7 (10), 6-3.

Dominique Cambron-Goulet has been teaching tennis for ten years and is now a journalist in Montreal. Follow his reports  all week from Rogers Cup here and live on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

 

Photographs by Marc-André Gauthier

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Editorial: Open Letter to the Toronto Rogers Cup Tournament Director

August 8, 2013

Editorial: Open Letter to the Toronto Rogers Cup Tournament Director

 

Dear Karl Hale,

The intent of this letter is to express my profound disappointment towards the trend seen recently in the Toronto Rogers Cup: the relegation of the WTA event as a mere side-show to the men’s event.

I first visited the Rogers Cup in the late nineties as a young avid fan, and the pride I show towards my home tournament has since followed me while I traveled the world to attend similar events. Both my passion for the game and my desire to pursue a career in the tennis sphere have strongly been influenced by the last fifteen years hanging out with the best players of the world for the first two weeks of August.

Over the years, I developed, like many others have forgotten, a strong preference for women’s tennis. Whether it is the strong WTA personalities of the early 2000’s or the behind-the-scenes drama, I deliberately decided to attend, as well as cover it for media, the women over the men since 2003.

I do understand that the tournament has undergone major structural changes over the past years: the combined one-week event, while justifiably necessary to maintain a decent schedule in both tours, is unfortunate. It creates an economical and logistic strain for both cities and isn’t ideal for the sponsors, organizers and fans. I also do understand that women’s tennis might not be as marketable as men’s tennis right now: what is seen with the ATP big four is both spectacular and unprecedented.

But as one of the largest combined events in the world, I feel that it is part of your mandate to see beyond the annual ticket sales and ensure a sustainable showing for both the men’s and women’s events every year. And that means being ahead of the curve and proactively publicizing the actual women’s stars, instead of constantly and publicly downgrading the women’s event to a less valuable product. Then, maybe, you’d get more interest and increased revenue from the WTA event every two years. It is always better to prevent rather than to cure, as they say.

When the unfortunate ”Come for the ladies, stay for the legends” blunder happened in 2011, I was the first to blame it on a simple marketing mistake: in no way my beloved home tourney would be so degrading towards professional athletes that helped fill up the stands over the years. But sadly, it kept on happening: one, two, three exhibition matches including male players that took the primetime center court spots away from the WTA matches. And it all peaked into tonight’s exhibition between Lopez and Tomic: ”Come for the ladies, stay for the legends and the Montreal first round losers”. Wow.

Ironically, this week also marked the entrance of Billie Jean King in the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame. Honoring the strongest defender of equality in tennis (and even sports) while pushing the WTA stars away from television coverage is a high mark of disrespect to the historical figures of the game, the WTA players and the devoted fans.

Sometimes, seeing beyond the numbers makes some business sense. Especially for a non-profit organization with values such as ”teamwork, passion, integrity, innovation and excellence”.  We have the best tournament in the world. Let’s all try to keep it this way. Let’s keep the pride going.

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

Proud WTA supporter and devoted Canadian tennis fan

 

 

The views expressed here are those of the author. Charles David Mathieu-Poulin  is covering the Rogers Cup in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News.

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ATP Montreal, WTA Toronto – Wednesday Results, Thursday Schedule

872013 Nadal stretch fh

ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Montreal, Canada  (-4 hours GMT)
5-11 August, 2013     Surface: Hard

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 7  AUGUST, 2013

Singles – Second Round
[2] A Murray (GBR) d M Granollers (ESP) 64 76(2)
[Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) d [3] D Ferrer (ESP) 62 64
[4] R Nadal (ESP) d [WC] J Levine (CAN) 62 60
[5] T Berdych (CZE) d A Dolgopolov (UKR) 63 64
[6] J Del Potro (ARG) d I Dodig (CRO) 64 46 75
B Paire (FRA) d [8] S Wawrinka (SUI) 62 76(2)
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) d [10] T Haas (GER) 50 Retired (right shoulder)
[11] M Raonic (CAN) d M Youzhny (RUS) 64 64
E Gulbis (LAT) d [13] F Fognini (ITA) 63 16 61
[15] J Janowicz (POL) d [WC] F Dancevic (CAN) 76(5) 36 64
D Istomin (UZB) d [WC] F Peliwo (CAN) 63 36 63
[WC] V Pospisil (CAN) d R Stepanek (CZE) 62 64
N Davydenko (RUS) d P Andujar (ESP) 61 46 63

Doubles – Second Round
[7] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d T Haas (GER) / J Melzer (AUT) walkover (Haas – right shoulder)
First Round
C Fleming (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) d J Benneteau (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 16 64 10-6
T Berdych (CZE) / M Llodra (FRA) d M Klizan (SVK) / J Tipsarevic (SRB) 62 63
G Dimitrov (BUL) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d [WC] F Dancevic (CAN) / A Shamasdin (CAN) 76(6) 63
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 8 AUGUST, 2013

CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
[4] R Nadal (ESP) vs [15] J Janowicz (POL)
Not Before 14:00
E Gulbis (LAT) vs [2] A Murray (GBR)
Not Before 18:00
[6] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [11] M Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 20:00
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs D Istomin (UZB)

BN COURT start 12:00
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) vs B Paire (FRA)
[5] T Berdych (CZE) vs [WC] V Pospisil (CAN)
Not Before 15:00
N Davydenko (RUS) vs [Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS)
Not Before 19:00
[9] K Nishikori (JPN) vs [7] R Gasquet (FRA)
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs A Seppi (ITA) / M Youzhny (RUS)

COURT 9 start 12:00
[8] M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) vs M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL)
P Andujar (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) vs [5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) – After Suitable Rest
[4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) vs C Fleming (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) – After Suitable Rest
G Dimitrov (BUL) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [2] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP)

COURT 5 start 14:00
D Inglot (GBR) / J Janowicz (POL) vs [6] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) – After Suitable Rest
T Berdych (CZE) / M Llodra (FRA) vs [3] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)

 

 

ROGERS CUP
Toronto, Canada

August 5-11, 2013
$2,369,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results - Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 63 62
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 61 64
(5) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 62 76(2)
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (WC) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 63 62
(7/WC) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (Q) Lauren Davis (USA) 60 63
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (9) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 57 76(0) 64 (saved 2mp)
(10) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 60 64
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. (11) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 75 75
(12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 16 62 63
(13) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. (Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) 75 36 62
(14) Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 63 46 63
(15) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (WC) Sharon Fichman (CAN) 64 76(6)
(16) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 64 64
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 64 62

Doubles – Second Round
(2) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 64 64
(3) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. Begu/Govortsova (ROU/BLR) 62 61
(4) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Chan/Hrdinova (TPE/CZE) 64 62
Kalashnikova/Rosolska (GEO/POL) d. (5) Mirza/Zheng (IND/CHN) 36 61 106 (Match TB)

Doubles – First Round
(WC) Dabrowski/Fichman (CAN) d. (8) Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova (RUS/CZE) 64 67(5) 108 (Match TB)
Jankovic/Srebotnik (SRB/SLO) d. Cibulkova/Hsieh (SVK/TPE) 67(5) 61 102 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Thursday, August 8, 2013
Centre Court (from 11.00am)
1. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Sloane Stephens
2. Ana Ivanovic vs. Li Na (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Serena Williams vs. Kirsten Flipkens (NB 14.30hrs)
4. Petra Kvitova vs. Samantha Stosur (NB 19.00hrs)

Grandstand (from 11.00am)
1. Alizé Cornet vs. Sara Errani
2. Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Marion Bartoli
3. Jelena Jankovic vs. Sorana Cirstea (NB 14.00hrs)
4. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Roberta Vinci
5. Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova vs. Hantuchova/Hingis

Court 1 (from 14.00am)
1. Kalashnikova/Rosolska vs. Makarova/Vesnina
2. Klemenschits/Savchuk vs. Dabrowski/Fichman
3. Jankovic/Srebotnik vs. Huber/Llagostera Vives (after suitable rest)

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For Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli a Focus on One Match at a Time

Marion-Bartoli-Day-2-Press-Conference1-e1342178509523

By Brodie Elgin

(August 7, 2013) TORONTO – Every player deals with winning their first grand slam in different ways. For some, the pressure of becoming the hunted is a daunting proposition. For others, it’s a relief. On Monday, Marion Bartoli admitted that the month of attention following her Wimbledon crown was exciting, and allowed her to participate in off court activities she might have never had a chance to do otherwise. If there were to be fears of complacency from Bartoli following such great success and the perks that come with it, she started the process of erasing those Wednesday afternoon in Toronto.

 

Taking on young American Lauren Davis (who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova twice to reach the second round, once in qualifying and once again after Kuznetsova won a lucky loser into the first round), Bartoli took no time to race to a commanding 6-0 lead. Her two handed forehand and backhand appear to have the same zip as they did a month ago at Wimbledon, even in the slower Toronto conditions. These extreme grips allow her to sometimes create obscure angles which put Davis consistently into a defensive mode.

 

Bartoli admitted to being surprised at how well she was playing considering the pressure surrounding the match. “Yeah, I was surprised that I [started] so well, honestly. I didn’t play on the hard court since Monterrey in Mexico, which I believe was [in] the beginning of April. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, because the last two times I played in Toronto, I lost first round.” While Davis managed to find her way into the second set, she was still largely overwhelmed by the recent Wimbledon champion, falling 6-0, 6-3. “I just wanted to enjoy myself on the court and try my hardest, said Bartoli. ” Obviously being able to win 6-0, 6-3 was pretty good for me. I played well, and I’m very pleased with the way I handled everything.”

 

For Bartoli, the goal is to focus on one match at a time, with an eye at making a serious run at the US Open. While the hamstring is still a concern for her, she seemed confident that it should not become a serious issue. “My hamstring is getting better and better. The summer is a grueling season. You have to be really fit and ready. I’m just working on a daily basis to make sure I’m getting stronger and stronger on it so I don’t feel the same pain as I did in Wimbledon.”

 

Bartoli takes on Magdalena Rybarikova in her third round match on Thursday.

 

Brodie Elgin is the writer of mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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Serena Williams Advances in Toronto

 

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff3 - Copy

(August 7, 2013) No. 1 Serena Williams opened her Rogers Cup campaign in Toronto with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Francesca Schiavone. Williams will try to get some sisterly revenge when she faces Kirsten Flipkens in the third round. Flipkens defeated Venus Williams in the first round.

“I felt good. I felt solid,” Williams said after the match. “I obviously made a few errors but it’s just my first match on hard (court) in a really long time. I also played a really good player, so it was a good match.”

Williams’ American countrywoman Sloane Stephens advanced besting Germany’s Mona Barthel 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

“She’s obviously a really good player and played some really good points,” Stephens said of her opponent.  “Sometimes I think there was a couple of games where when she was serving and she would be down and she’d hit like an amazing first serve and first volley, so it was definitely tough.

“I thought I just had to kind of stick it out, and I was able to play some good points.”

Fourth seed Li Na of China sent Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova out of the tournament  with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

“I was feeling pretty good at least during the tournament, so I can move on,” Li said. “Of course first match always tough, because after Wimbledon I think three or four weeks didn’t play any tournaments.

 

ROGERS CUP
Toronto, Canada

August 5-11, 2013
$2,369,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results - Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 63 62
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 61 64
(5) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 62 76(2)
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (WC) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 63 62
(7/WC) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (Q) Lauren Davis (USA) 60 63
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (9) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 57 76(0) 64 (saved 2mp)
(10) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 60 64
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. (11) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 75 75
(12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 16 62 63
(13) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. (Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) 75 36 62
(14) Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 63 46 63
(15) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (WC) Sharon Fichman (CAN) 64 76(6)
(16) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 64 64
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 64 62

Doubles – Second Round
(2) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 64 64
(3) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. Begu/Govortsova (ROU/BLR) 62 61
(4) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Chan/Hrdinova (TPE/CZE) 64 62
Kalashnikova/Rosolska (GEO/POL) d. (5) Mirza/Zheng (IND/CHN) 36 61 106 (Match TB)

Doubles – First Round
(WC) Dabrowski/Fichman (CAN) d. (8) Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova (RUS/CZE) 64 67(5) 108 (Match TB)
Jankovic/Srebotnik (SRB/SLO) d. Cibulkova/Hsieh (SVK/TPE) 67(5) 61 102 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Thursday, August 8, 2013
Centre Court (from 11.00am)
1. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Sloane Stephens
2. Ana Ivanovic vs. Li Na (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Serena Williams vs. Kirsten Flipkens (NB 14.30hrs)
4. Petra Kvitova vs. Samantha Stosur (NB 19.00hrs)

Grandstand (from 11.00am)
1. Alizé Cornet vs. Sara Errani
2. Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Marion Bartoli
3. Jelena Jankovic vs. Sorana Cirstea (NB 14.00hrs)
4. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Roberta Vinci
5. Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova vs. Hantuchova/Hingis

Court 1 (from 14.00am)
1. Kalashnikova/Rosolska vs. Makarova/Vesnina
2. Klemenschits/Savchuk vs. Dabrowski/Fichman
3. Jankovic/Srebotnik vs. Huber/Llagostera Vives (after suitable rest)

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Murray and Nadal Advance Montreal

Andy Murray

(August 7, 2013) Andy Murray returned to the court for the first time since winning the Wimbledon title last month in victorious fashion by defeating Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-4, 7-6 (2) on Wednesday in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

“I was pretty nervous before the match, which is a good sign,” Murray admitted. “I remember after the US Open last year, I kind of went into the Asia swing.  I didn’t feel nervous on the court.  I felt pretty relaxed and loose, not too worried about what was happening.

“It was a bit different today.  I was pretty nervous beforehand.  That was a good sign.  I’m pretty ready to move forward and not think too much about Wimbledon and concentrate on the US Open.

Rafael Nadal also playing for the first time since losing his first round match at Wimbledon, destroyed Canada’s Jesse Levine 6-2, 6-0.

Juan Martin Del Potro rallied from two breaks down in the third set to beat Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the last match on Centre Court.

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 7 AUGUST, 2013

Singles – Second Round
[2] A Murray (GBR) d M Granollers (ESP) 64 76(2)
[Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) d [3] D Ferrer (ESP) 62 64
[4] R Nadal (ESP) d [WC] J Levine (CAN) 62 60
[5] T Berdych (CZE) d A Dolgopolov (UKR) 63 64
[6] J Del Potro (ARG) d I Dodig (CRO) 64 46 75
B Paire (FRA) d [8] S Wawrinka (SUI) 62 76(2)
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) d [10] T Haas (GER) 50 Retired (right shoulder)
[11] M Raonic (CAN) d M Youzhny (RUS) 64 64
E Gulbis (LAT) d [13] F Fognini (ITA) 63 16 61
[15] J Janowicz (POL) d [WC] F Dancevic (CAN) 76(5) 36 64
D Istomin (UZB) d [WC] F Peliwo (CAN) 63 36 63
[WC] V Pospisil (CAN) d R Stepanek (CZE) 62 64
N Davydenko (RUS) d P Andujar (ESP) 61 46 63

Doubles – Second Round
[7] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d T Haas (GER) / J Melzer (AUT) walkover (Haas – right shoulder)
First Round
C Fleming (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) d J Benneteau (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 16 64 10-6
T Berdych (CZE) / M Llodra (FRA) d M Klizan (SVK) / J Tipsarevic (SRB) 62 63
G Dimitrov (BUL) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) d [WC] F Dancevic (CAN) / A Shamasdin (CAN) 76(6) 63
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 8 AUGUST, 2013

CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
[4] R Nadal (ESP) vs [15] J Janowicz (POL)
Not Before 14:00
E Gulbis (LAT) vs [2] A Murray (GBR)
Not Before 18:00
[6] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [11] M Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 20:00
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs D Istomin (UZB)

BN COURT start 12:00
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) vs B Paire (FRA)
[5] T Berdych (CZE) vs [WC] V Pospisil (CAN)
Not Before 15:00
N Davydenko (RUS) vs [Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS)
Not Before 19:00
[9] K Nishikori (JPN) vs [7] R Gasquet (FRA)
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs A Seppi (ITA) / M Youzhny (RUS)

COURT 9 start 12:00
[8] M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) vs M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL)
P Andujar (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) vs [5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) – After Suitable Rest
[4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) vs C Fleming (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) – After Suitable Rest
G Dimitrov (BUL) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [2] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP)

COURT 5 start 14:00
D Inglot (GBR) / J Janowicz (POL) vs [6] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) – After Suitable Rest
T Berdych (CZE) / M Llodra (FRA) vs [3] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)

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Home Advantage: Top 10 Best Canadian Crowd-Pleasers in Montreal

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By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

(August 7, 2013) Montreal – In the wake of possibly the best day, week and year in Canadian tennis history, we look back at the top 10 wildest, craziest and loudest performances of local players at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The victories that led to standing ovations, chants and waves, Montreal-style. The ones no one expected. The ones we all remember.

10. Frédéric Niemeyer, 2009

A seasoned veteran, Frédéric Niemeyer had announced in 2009 that he would retire at the end of the year. When the Rogers Cup draw came out, everyone hoped for him to face Roger Federer, his long-time friend, in the second round as his farewell match in Montréal. After beating Kunitsyn in the first round, Fred played a tight two set match against a classy Federer, who let him enjoy the spotlight. One of those well-deserved feel-good moments we all enjoy.

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

9. Eugenie Bouchard, 2012

While Eugenie ‘Genie’ Bouchard is now on the brink of becoming one of WTA’s biggest stars, she still was fairly unknown to the casual Canadian fans in early 2012. After winning Junior Wimbledon and the Granby Challenger, she came to the Rogers Cup full of confidence and with all eyes on her. Her first round match on a packed Center Court against Shahar Peer seemed like a tough task, but the Montreal-born blonde kept her composure to win 7-5 in the third, to the delight of the adoring crowd. After a tight two-set loss to Li Na in the second round, everybody knew it was the start of a long love affair between Genie and Montreal.

8. Sébastien Leblanc, 1997

Sébastien Leblanc was best known for his doubles skills: paired with fellow Canadians Sebastien Lareau and Greg Rusedski, he won three consecutive Junior Doubles Grand Slams in 1990 and got up to number 127 in the senior doubles rankings. So when he came out at the 1997 Rogers Cup to face Tim Henman, then ranked 18th in the world, the expectations were low for the 885th ranked Canadian, playing his first ATP match of the year. The first set was decided in a tiebreak, where Leblanc had the lead early and never looked back after a string of unforced errors from Henman. The second set stayed tight until the end, and while the ecstatic applause seemed to get in Tim’s head, he managed to level the match by breaking late in the set. In the third, playing aggressive tennis and rushing to the net, Leblanc broke for a 5-3 lead, and finished the match on a spectacular plunging dropshot volley winner. Leblanc would end up losing easily in the next round and retiring a few months after, but this remains a fuzzy-yellow-ball Cinderella story to be told.

872013 Raonic 9460075095_7f4153fb29_z

7. Milos Raonic, 2009

When Milos first stepped on the Montreal courts for the 2009 qualifying draw, he was a tall, lanky, a-bit-awkward giant with a big serve. He surprised everyone by beating Gabashvili and Llodra to qualify, and set up a night match against feisty world No. 10 Fernando Gonzalez in the first round. Only experience separated the two, and “Gonzo” ended up winning after saving a match point in the second set tiebreak, but the rowdy National Bank crowd which got the first taste of Milos-mania. It was the first sign of brilliance from Milos, who actually is now a tall, lanky, a-bit-less-awkward giant with a big serve.

6. Aleksandra Wozniak, 2012

Aleksandra Wozniak is the most successful Quebec player ever to step on a tennis court (being ranked as high as 21), but the Blainville native had never really shone at the Rogers Cup, coming in the 2012 main draw with a 3-9 record. After serious injuries, she was on the way back up in 2012, but a tough draw was ahead of her. After scraping through Daniela Hantuchova in the first round, she upset Jelena Jankovic easily in the second round and beat Christina McHale in the third round before losing to her nemesis Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals. It was a great moment for Aleks who got over her mental block in Montreal, and a great moment for the crowd enjoying their protégé’s long-awaited local success.

5. Simon Larose, 2003

Simon Larose was known on the ATP circuit as a talented but party-oriented fellow. Living up to his reputation, rocking a mohawk tucked under a bandana, he came to the Montreal 2003 Rogers Cup ranked at number 315. While everyone was looking forward to his blockbuster first round against Gustavo Kuerten, nobody expected more than a decent-but-outrageous showing from Larose. Outrageous it was, but decent it wasn’t: playing superb tennis, Larose upset the former number 1 and Grand Slam champion in a tight two-setter, falling on his knees in disbelief after match point. Riding the wave in the next round, he beat Jose Acasuso in a thriller, coming back from 1-3 in the third set, setting up a meeting with legend Andre Agassi in the third round. Despite losing 6-4 6-2 after having a 4-1 lead in the first, Larose had the best tennis week of his life and became a household name in Montreal. The after-tourney party was probably epic.

4. Stephanie Dubois, 2008

Stephanie Dubois is a feisty competitor that fuels on the crowd’s energy. She therefore has created over the years a mutual agreement with Montrealers: the more they cheer, the more she fights, the more they chant, the more she wins. After reaching the third round in 2006 due to a Kim Clijsters retirement, Steph brought the crowd to its feet by repeating the feat two years later. While the match wasn’t memorable, her first round against Govortsova was played in a bizarre environment: after waiting for hours to start the match due to a rain delay, the players came out of the locker room well over 10pm, acclaimed by a very small but raucous crowd, excited to finally see some action. At one point, the stadium fire alarm started ringing for a what seems like forever: while the players were seated waiting for it to stop, a smart supporter yelled ‘Steph is on fireeeeeeeee!’, leading to an overall laughter. Dubois kept the fire going in her second round against Maria Kirilenko, arguably her best win ever, a match which had superb shot making, long rallies and will stay in the books as one of the most inspired Canadian performances in Montreal.

Pospisil

3. The 2013 Crew

Mark the dates: August 5th-6th, 2013. In previous years, the Montreal crowd would get excited when one or two Canadians would sneak into round 2. So when five local players won their first match (and the other lost a close three-setter against a top 15 player), there was an overall sense of excitement on the Stade Uniprix grounds. It all started on Monday night, when newly- minted Canadian Jesse Levine upset Xavier Malisse, while Peter Polansky played an inspired match despite losing to Kei Nishikori in front of a chanting and waving Center Court. It was a sign of things to come, as the long, tedious, overdramatic wins kept on rolling the next day: Filip Peliwo, Frank Dancevic,  Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic all moved through despite being a few points away from defeat. So who will go the furthest down the draw and make this same list in 2033?

2. Sébastien Lareau, 1999

Sébastien Lareau was the proud flag-bearer through a few dry years for Canadian tennis in the late nineties and early noughties, notably in doubles. The Montreal tournament, which he called ‘My Wimbledon’, saw him get the best single wins of his career. In 1999, he came in the tournament ranked at 116. After winning his first round in two sets against Justin Gimelstob, he had a tough task ahead of him in Richard Krajicek, 5th seed and 7th in the world. When the Dutchman won the first set 6-4, everyone thought logic was followed. But the crowd got into the match, probably as intensely as ever, and when Krajicek doublefaulted at 4-6 in the tiebreak, the entire stadium exploded in strong applause and a standing ovation. The magic atmosphere helped Lareau stay on top of the wave, and after missing three match points while serving for the match in the third, a final service winner handed him the biggest match of his career. He lost in three tough sets to eventual winner Thomas Johansson in the next round in another dramatic thriller, but he rekindled the Montreal love for Canadian tennis, which in itself is the best feat of all.

Dancevic

1. Frank Dancevic, 2007

Everyone agrees that Frank Dancevic is more talented than what his résumé suggests: often injured, the Canadian never really had the chance to blossom into the player he could have been. The best example of this is the 2007 Rogers Cup, where he went on a string of fantastic results, to the delight of the Montreal crowd. Juan Martin Del Potro, Wayne Odesnik and Fernando Verdasco all were honorable victims of Frank’s big serve-and-volley game and all three matches went deep in the third set. The quarterfinal match against none other than Rafael Nadal seemed like just icing on the cake, but Frank had other plans in mind. On this Friday Night, where the entire city had its eyes turned to tennis, Dancevic stormed through the first set, breaking in the last game, to the disbelief of most. With a perfect attacking game and a surprisingly strong backhand, Frank was dreaming of the upset, but the fatigue of the week (and Nadal’s well-known fighting spirit) got in the way, as the last two set went straightforwardly to the Spaniard. It was the first time since 1989 that a Canadian reached the quarterfinals, a feat repeated by Raonic in 2012, but for Dancevic it was ‘the experience of a lifetime’. And we’ll all remember it.

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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ATP Montreal, WTA Toronto – Tuesday Results, Wednesday Schedule

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ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Montreal, Canada  (-4 hours GMT)
5-11 August, 2013     Surface: Hard

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 6 AUGUST, 2013

Singles – Second Round
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d F Mayer (GER) 62 61
[7] R Gasquet (FRA) d M Klizan (SVK) 63 62
[9] K Nishikori (JPN) d A Seppi (ITA) 46 75 61

Singles – First Round
[10] T Haas (GER) d [Q] D Goffin (BEL) 76(4) 63
[11] M Raonic (CAN) d J Chardy (FRA) 63 46 75
R Stepanek (CZE) d [12] N Almagro (ESP) 63 67(4) 63
[13] F Fognini (ITA) d M Baghdatis (CYP) 16 61 61
N Davydenko (RUS) d [14] G Simon (FRA) 26 61 61
[15] J Janowicz (POL) d J Benneteau (FRA) 36 63 75
[WC] F Peliwo (CAN) d J Nieminen (FIN) 36 75 31 ret. (hamstring) – saved 1 M.P.
[WC] F Dancevic (CAN) d [Q] Y Lu (TPE) 57 76(6) 61
A Dolgopolov (UKR) d K Anderson (RSA) 76(0) 64
[WC] V Pospisil (CAN) d J Isner (USA) 57 76(5) 76(4)
[Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) d M Llodra (FRA) 62 46 63
M Youzhny (RUS) d J Melzer (AUT) 64 76(3)
M Granollers (ESP) d G Dimitrov (BUL) 64 64

Doubles – First Round
A Seppi (ITA) / M Youzhny (RUS) d [Alt] J Chardy (FRA) / L Kubot (POL) 64 63
D Inglot (GBR) / J Janowicz (POL) d A Begemann (GER) / R Bopanna (IND) 76(4) 64
P Andujar (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) d D Ferrer (ESP) / F Lopez (ESP) 67(2) 61 12-10 – saved 2 M.P.
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d B Paire (FRA) / S Wawrinka (SUI) 76(6) 62

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 7 AUGUST, 2013

CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
M Granollers (ESP) vs [2] A Murray (GBR)
Not Before 14:00
[4] R Nadal (ESP) vs [WC] J Levine (CAN)
Not Before 18:00
M Youzhny (RUS) vs [11] M Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 20:00
[6] J del Potro (ARG) vs I Dodig (CRO)

BN COURT start 12:00 noon
[WC] V Pospisil (CAN) vs R Stepanek (CZE)
[5] T Berdych (CZE) vs A Dolgopolov (UKR)
[WC] F Dancevic (CAN) vs [15] J Janowicz (POL)
Not Before 19:00
[Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) vs [3] D Ferrer (ESP)

COURT 9 start 12:00 noon
[13] F Fognini (ITA) vs E Gulbis (LAT)
[WC] F Peliwo (CAN) vs D Istomin (UZB)
J Benneteau (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs C Fleming (GBR) / A Murray (GBR)
N Davydenko (RUS) vs P Andujar (ESP)

COURT 5 start 13:00

B Paire (FRA) vs [8] S Wawrinka (SUI)
[10] T Haas (GER) vs [Q] M Matosevic (AUS)
T Berdych (CZE) / M Llodra (FRA) vs M Klizan (SVK) / J Tipsarevic (SRB)
G Dimitrov (BUL) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [WC] F Dancevic (CAN) / A Shamasdin (CAN)

 

ROGERS CUP
Toronto, Canada

August 5-11, 2013
$2,369,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results - Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Singles – Second Round
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 62 63
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (8) Angelique Kerber (GER) 67(0) 62 75

Singles – First Round
(11) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (Q) Petra Martic (CRO) 62 61
(12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (Q) Julia Glushko (ISR) 57 62 63
(13) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Venus Williams (USA) 06 64 62
(15) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (Q) Anna Tatishvili (GEO) 76(6) 46 63
(16) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 61 62
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. Jamie Hampton (USA) 64 64
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (Q) Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) 61 75
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 63 63
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (Q) Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 64 63
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 26 63 63
(Q) Lauren Davis (USA) d. (LL) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 36 75 75
(WC) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 63 61
(WC) Sharon Fichman (CAN) d. (WC) Stephanie Dubois (CAN) 57 62 62

Doubles – Second Round
(1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. Marosi/Moulton-Levy (HUN/USA) 64 36 105 (Match TB)

Doubles – First Round
(5) Mirza/Zheng (IND/CHN) d. Grandin/Jurak (RSA/CRO) 46 76(5) 102 (Match TB)
(6) Huber/Llagostera Vives (USA/ESP) d. Kuznetsova/Pennetta (RUS/ITA) 76(2) 76(6)
Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova (GER/CZE) d. (7) Mladenovic/Voskoboeva (FRA/KAZ) 75 64
Chan/Hrdinova (TPE/CZE) d. Klepac/Lepchenko (SLO/USA) 62 63
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Husarova/Martic (SVK/CRO) 46 64 105 (Match TB)
Begu/Govortsova (ROU/BLR) d. Soler-Espinosa/Zakopalova (ESP/CZE) 64 26 105 (Match TB)

(WC) Hantuchova/Hingis (SVK/SUI) d. (WC) Kerber/Kvitova (GER/CZE) 64 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Centre Court (from 11.00am)
1. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Li Na
2. Lauren Davis vs. Marion Bartoli (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Klara Zakopalova vs. Sara Errani (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Serena Williams vs. Francesca Schiavone (NB 19.00hrs)
5. Petra Kvitova vs. Eugenie Bouchard

Grandstand (from 11.00am)
1. Maria Kirilenko vs. Alizé Cornet
2. Jelena Jankovic vs. Sharon Fichman
3. Ana Ivanovic vs. Flavia Pennetta
4. Sorana Cirstea vs. Caroline Wozniacki
5. Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Samantha Stosur

Court 1 (from 11.00am)
1. Mona Barthel vs. Sloane Stephens
2. Ekaterina Makarova vs. Roberta Vinci
3. Kiki Bertens vs. Kirsten Flipkens
4. Dabrowski/Fichman vs. Pavlyuchenkova/Safarova (after suitable rest)

Court 2 (from 11.00am)
1. Mirza/Zheng vs. Kalashnikova/Rosolska
2. Varvara Lepchenko vs. Magdalena Rybarikova (NB 13.30hrs)
3. Jankovic/Srebotnik vs. Cibulkova/Hsieh (NB 15.30hrs; after suitable rest)

Court 3 (from 11.00am)
1. Kops-Jones/Spears vs. Chan/Hrdinova
2. Begu/Govortsova vs. Groenefeld/Peschke
3. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova vs. Makarova/Vesnina (after suitable rest)

 

 

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Eugenie Bouchard – Part of Canada’s WTA Generation Next

 

 

Bouchard Presser 005-001By Brodie Elgin

(August 6, 2013) TORONTO -There has been a lot of noise about a rising generation of WTA stars, and with good reason. Some of the biggest rising names belong to large, English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom’s Laura Robson or the United States’ Sloane Stephens. With tennis returning to Canada at the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto, the national spotlight has turned to Eugenie Bouchard – just 19 years old, and already ranked No. 62 in the world.

 

While her opening round night match against recently returning Alisa Kleybanova on Canada’s largest tennis stage might be an anxious ask for an average 19 year old, it wasn’t Bouchard’s first time on Toronto’s centre court. In fact, the young Canadian is quickly becoming accustomed to the big stage after defeating Ana Ivanovic on arguably the most prestigious stage in tennis – Wimbledon’s centre court. “Wimbledon is the biggest stage in tennis, so playing centre court there was extremely special. But of course I love playing at home in Canada in front of my fans, and I want to show how well I can play, so I was definitely a little bit nervous before this match.”

 

Alisa Kleybanova has just recently returned to main tour action after a stint with hodgkins lymphoma, and it was fantastic to see her on court. She won some excellent points and still possesses the power that helped her once reach top 20 in the world. “Obviously Alisa is a great player. I’m sure she will get back to being really good.” Despite Kleybanova only recently returning, Bouchard wasn’t sure what to expect and knew she needed to play aggressively. “I wasn’t too sure what to be prepared for, but I felt like I was ready for anything. I was able to play really solid today. I was happy.”

Bouchard bh

After a series of breaks in the first set, Bouchard calmed down and began to take control of the match, eventually winning 6-3, 6-1. “I think it’s been a while since I played a match where we broke each other so much in a row.” She showed excellent court awareness, and looked comfortable both absorbing Kleybanova’s power and keeping the ball deep. Bouchard is quick around the court and has always had good wrist strength to put excellent spin on the ball when necessary. However, her improved power in her flatter strokes held up well against a big hitter, and at times she counterpunched superbly. “She hits big shots, but I was still able to control the point… Even if she was hitting big, I was staying with her, so I could just easily go from defense to offense.”

 

She will need more of the same Wednesday night as she takes on one of the WTA’s biggest hitters and defending Rogers Cup champion Petra Kvitova. “Yeah, time to take the defending champ down,” she said, laughing. “She’s a great player. I’m just really excited I will play at home on centre court in front of the crowd. It’s always so fun for me.”

 

Overall, it was an excellent day for Canada as a combined eight Canadians advanced in both the Montreal and Toronto tournaments. With six men advancing in Montreal, this is the first time in 40 years that even five have advanced beyond the first round. Canadian Sharon Fichman also advanced, defeating fellow countrywoman Stephanie Dubois in a 2 hour and 49 minute marathon, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

 

Brodie Elgin is the writer of mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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