Canada Dominates Serbia to Win Fed Cup Tie

Bouchard 2 9 3

By Brodie Elgin

(February 9, 2014) On Saturday, Canada took a commanding lead in their Davis Cup tie as Aleksandra Wozniak toughed out an emotional win over Vesna Dolonc, and Eugenie Bouchard routed Jovana Jaksic in front of an ecstatic Canadian crowd in Montreal. Sunday featured the reverse singles, meaning both team’s top ranked players would face off to start the day, giving Bouchard the opportunity to sweep the Serbians as she took on Dolonc at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex.


The Canadian stormed out of the gate once again, taking the first set emphatically, 6-0, and in just 18 minutes. Despite some better serving from the Serbian and needing to save break points early in the second set, Bouchard stayed composed and went on to win 6-0, 6-3 in just 50 minutes. “I played two solid matches this weekend and I am happy that I was able to help the team win,” the 19th ranked Canadian said after her victory. “I love playing for my country, I am very patriotic.”


The win for Canada sees them advance to the World Group playoffs in April, where a win would see them advance to the 2015 Fed Cup World Group which consists of only eight elite teams from across the world. The win represents another massive victory for tennis in Canada after the men advanced to the Davis Cup semifinals in 2013.


“We are doing good things in Fed Cup because everyone is working together,” said Canadian Fed Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau. “We are very motivated to get to World Group I with the eight best countries in the world. That’s where we want to be, that’s our goal.”

The growing success of Canadian tennis was a common theme of the weekend, as the entire tie was broadcast nationally on the country’s largest television sports channel, Sportsnet. “I hope the popularity of tennis gets bigger in Canada, and if I’m part of that, well that makes me happy,” Bouchard said.


The draw for the World Group I and World Group II Fed Cup playoffs will be held Tuesday, February 11th in London.



Favorite Canada Lead by Bouchard Take 2-0 Advantage over Serbia in Fed Cup World Group 2 Play


Aleksandra Wozniack

Aleksandra Wozniack

By Brodie Elgin

(February 8, 2014) It has been an exciting time for Canada in the past several years. From the break out of Milos Raonic as the first Canadian to win an ATP title and reach the top 10, to the Canadian team’s success in Davis Cup and the emergence of Vasek Pospisil all the way to Eugenie Bouchard‘s semifinal run in the Australian Open – the first Canadian women to advance to the final four of a major tournament in 30 years. After the Canadian team failed to advance past the first round of Davis Cup in Tokyo, the women took center stage as they got under way against Serbia in Fed Cup at in Montreal.


The Canadian team looked to be heavy favorites to advance out of the World Group II as Serbia’s top three ranked players, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, and Bojana Jovanovski were all absent. Serbia called upon Vesna Dolonc in the first rubber to take on the previously top ranked Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in front of a large crowd at the Claud Robillard Sports Complex.


Before the match, the crowd appeared ready to cheer on the Canadians, but were quickly stifled as the Serbian raced out to a 5-1 lead. Wozniak, who is still returning from a series of serious injuries, looked a step slow and failed to properly impose herself in the match.


However, things quickly changed as the Canadian found her feet and started to find more consistent depth that caused problems for Dolonc. The Serbian did not make matters easier for herself, as she double faulted four times in two service games, including once on break point, and Wozniak fought all the way back, winning six straight games and taking the first set 7-5.


A disheveled Dolonc left the court with her coach’s arm around her in an attempt to regain her composure, and it worked as she broke in her first return game, and took the second set decisively, 6-2.


The beginning of the third set featured some of the best tennis of the match, as both players raised their level and fought out several long games on serve. But it would eventually be Wozniak who would break in the middle of the set and hold on, taking her first match point and the match, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.


“It was an emotional win for me. I wanted so badly to get back on the Fed Cup team,” said Wozniak, who was brought to tears after her hard fought win. “It was a tough match with a lot of long points, so I had to stay focused. The crowd was amazing and really helped me get through. It’s special to play at home.”


Eugenie Bouchard'

Eugenie Bouchard’

Next up was young star Eugenie Bouchard, now ranked at a career high number 19, versus 20 year-old  Jovana Jaksic, ranked 149. Clad in red and featuring a fake Canadian flag tattoo on her right cheek, Bouchard turned the match into an exhibition as she routed the Serbian 6-1, 6-0.


The 19 year-old showed off not only why she managed to make the Australian Open semifinals, but why so many are hyping her game for the future. She mixed in plenty of effective net play and her forehand was particularly dominant as she hit 16 winners and won 85% of points behind her first serve en route to a 50 minute victory that puts Canada in a commanding position.


Sunday’s matches will include the reverse singles at 11am EST time as Wozniak will now take on Jaksic and Bouchard against Dolonc. If necessary, the doubles will feature Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman for Canada against Aleksandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic for Serbia.


All photos by Marc-André Gauthier


Tennis Canada honors Rene Simpson Collins during Fed Cup tie

(L-R, Valerie Tetreault, Stephanie Dubois, Rene Simpson Collins, Sharon Fichman and Aleksandra Wozniak)

(L-R, Valerie Tetreault, Stephanie Dubois, Rene Simpson Collins, Sharon Fichman and Aleksandra Wozniak)

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | @earthstroke

(February 8, 2014) MONTREAL – As part of the World Group II Fed Cup tie between Canada and Serbia held in Montreal this weekend, Tennis Canada paid a touching tribute to Rene Simpson Collins, former Fed Cup player and captain, who passed away last October after a relentless one-year fight with cancer.

The Canadian tennis world was deeply saddened in the fall of 2012 when her illness was announced. Multiple words of hope and support were shared by players, journalists and fans, notably through the Inspired By Rene website (http://www.inspiredbyrene.com), where Rene and her husband Jason shared thoughts and news on her on-going battle.

Wozniack patch

Players, as well as staff from both Tennis Canada and the ITF, also found their own way of honoring Simpson Collins on Saturday by wearing patches with the name Rene. It was also announced that a Rene Simpson Collins award will be created and given yearly by Tennis Canada to a player that showed promise, determination, courage, and pride.

Known for her determination, gritty attitude and incomparable fighting spirit, Rene went as high as No. 70 in the world in singles, while her biggest success came in doubles where she won three WTA events and reached a career high ranking of 32. She also took great pride in representing Canada by playing in 24 Fed Cup ties over 11 years and participating in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics both in singles and doubles.

As a Fed Cup captain between 2001 and 2009, Simpson Collins became an inspiration to an entire generation of Canadian tennis players. Stephanie Dubois, who has played numerous Fed Cup events since 2004, had great words for her former captain: ‘Rene was a great leader and a source of inspiration to all of us. We have lost a great part of Canadian tennis, and it was an honor to represent Canada with her as a captain’.

The greatest tribute would certainly come on the court from the Canadian Fed Cup team, who is aiming at reaching the World Group for the first time in twenty years.


Fed Cup Canada vs Serbia: Remembering Novi Sad

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

Fed Cup Canada vs Serbia: Remembering Novi Sad

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | @earthstroke

(February 7, 2014) MONTREAL – Three years ago almost to the day, I was getting off an overcrowded plane, with a backpack full of red and white memorabilia, eager to explore the country of Novak, Ana and Jelena. For the first time in over four years, Canada had managed to reach the Fed Cup World Group II after a 5-0 win against Argentina in Montreal, and were about to face Serbia in the first round. Being already in Europe, with an opportunity to cover the event for my hometown sports radio station, I couldn’t stop myself from hopping in a plane and making my way to Eastern Europe for the first time.

I will always remember my first moments in Belgrade: while in the most expensive taxi ride of my life (which I later learned was due to my taxi being wild and thus not under any regulations), I witnessed first-hand the passion the Serbians had for tennis. Between huge signs congratulating Novak Djokovic on his Australian Open win and multiple ads featuring Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic spread across the city, you could feel that the country lived and breathed tennis.

This energy was also strongly felt during the tie played in Novi Sad, a quaint and beautiful city on the side of the Danube River, just over an hour away from Belgrade. Even without their two marquee players, the Serbian team led by Jovanovski and Krunic was just elevated by the rowdy crowd. They ended up winning the deciding doubles match, making the unbeaten Jovanovski the national hero for a weekend. One year and three victorious ties later, Serbia reached its first and only Fed Cup final, losing to the Czech Republic.

Here we are three years later, and once again, Canada and Serbia have been drawn to face in the first round of World Group II. Once again, Serbia will come in without its biggest weapons (Jankovic, Ivanovic and Jovanovski). Once again, Canada hasn’t played a World Group match in a few years. And once again, Aleksandra Wozniak will play despite just coming back from a serious injury.

But this time, we too have passion.

It is tough to describe the wave of tennis fandom that has struck Canada over the past few months. It all started with Milos Raonic, who has been solidly in the top 20 for two years and started then to become a household name. Then came the Davis Cup team, who reached the semi-finals last year after upsetting Italy and Spain. Add an all-Canadian semi-final at the Rogers Cup to the mix, and the plot starts thickening. But it all was taken to a whole new level with Eugenie ‘Genie’ Bouchard.

In 2013, she won the WTA Newcomer of the Year award, as well as being voted the Female Athlete of the Year by the Canadian Press. Just a few weeks ago, her semi-final loss to Na Li in the Australian Open was the top news story of the week in the country.  And, the morning after her quarterfinal win against Ana Ivanovic in Melbourne, most of the coffee machine small talks revolved around her victory.

This Fed Cup tie marks her triumphant return to her hometown and will be the first time she plays in Montreal since the summer of 2012. Tennis Canada was smart in using every chance they had to use Genie to promote the event and we can assume that a large part of the crowd will be in Centre Claude-Robillard to catch a glimpse of a future tennis phenomenon. A full house is expected, and it should be red, white and loud. And now, Canadians don’t only expect to perform well, they expect to win and are largely favored to do so.

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out of an overcrowded subway ride, with the same red backpack on my shoulders: as I’ll look out at the colorful mix of tennis fans,  I’m pretty sure I’ll realize that Canada is now just as passionate about tennis as Serbia was three years ago. And I’ll be remembering Novi Sad.

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin is covering the Canada – Serbia Fed Cup tie in Montreal for Tennis Panorama News.


Schedule decided for Canada-Serbia Fed Cup tie in Montreal

Eugenie Bouchard (r) and Aleksandra Wozniak (l)

Eugenie Bouchard (r) and Aleksandra Wozniak (l)

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | @earthstroke

(February 7, 2014) MONTREAL – The match-ups of the Canada-Serbia World Group II Fed Cup tie were announced earlier today in Montreal, as the local hopefuls will be aiming at getting one step closer to reaching the World Group for the first time since 1994.

Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, a former top 25 player who is working her way up after a serious shoulder injury, will start things off on Saturday against Serbian number one Vesna Dolonc, ranked 117th. The two have only faced off once, when the Canadian won in two tight sets in the first round of the 2013 US Open a few months ago. Wozniak, the Canadian player with the most ever Fed Cup wins (37), was chosen to play singles over Sharon Fichman, the actual second best Canadian in the WTA rankings. By doing so, Canadian team captain Sylvain Bruneau will surely be hoping to earn the first point of the tie thanks to Wozniak’s experience, as she has been nominated for 15 Fed Cup ties since 2004.

The second singles match will see Canada’s Eugenie ‘Genie’ Bouchard, now ranked at a career high 19th spot, face off against first-time Fed Cup player Jovana Jaksic, also at her best ever ranking (149th). Bouchard, who was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year award in 2013, is expected to draw big crowds in Montreal, as she aims to keep up the form that led her to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

“It’ll be my first home tie so I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like, said Bouchard earlier today. This is the city I grew up in and it’s fun to play back here. I haven’t played here since Rogers Cup 2012, so I’m really excited.”

On Sunday, reverse singles should see Bouchard face Dolonc and Wozniak face Jaksic, though changes in the match-ups are possible. Sharon Fichman and Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada’s highest ranked doubles players, would be scheduled to face the unlikely pair of Alexandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic in the deciding doubles match.

Saturday February 8th, 2014 – 3pm ET

R1: Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Vesna Dolonc (SRB)
R2: Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) v Jovana Jaksic (SRB)

Sunday February 9th, 2014 – 1pm ET

R3: Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Jovana Jaksic (SRB)
R4: Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) v Vesna Dolonc (SRB)
R5: Gabriela Dabrowski/Sharon Fichman (CAN) v Aleksandra Krunic/Nina Stojanovic (SRB)



Czech Republic Stops Serbia to Repeat as Davis Cup Champion


(November 17, 2013) The Czech Republic has repeated as Davis Cup champion after defeating Serbia 3-2 in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday. In additional to titles in 2012 and this year, they also captured the crown in 1980 as Czechoslovakia.

In winning the fifth rubber to clinch the cup, Radek Stepanek became the first player in history to win consecutive live fifth singles rubbers in a Davis Cup Final. He is only the third player to win two Davis Cup Final live fifth singles rubbers, following Frenchman Henri Cochet and Great Britain’s Fred Perry.


For Czech captain Vladimir Safarik, he wins the Davis Cup title in his first tie as captain substituting for Jaroslav Navratil who was hospitalized with a blood clot.


The Serbs began day three with Novak Djokovic extending his post US Open win streak to 24 after stopping Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-2 to even the tie at 2-2.


The Serbs were at a disadvantage without the help of Janko Tipsarevic who could not play the tie due to a right heel injury. Also Viktor Troicki is off the tour due to a doping violation and ineligible to play.


Stepanek took advantage of the inexperienced Dusan Lajovic who is ranked No. 117 by demolishing him in straight sets.


“I don’t think words can describe it,” said Stepanek of the win. “To defend this trophy means the world for us and our country. We waited 32 years for the second title and now we are one of five countries that have been able to defend the title.

“We played in Serbia, on their surface, in front of their fantastic crowd. We made history today. I felt great on the court here since Friday and I just proved it. I’ve been Top 10 singles, Top 10 doubles, I’ve won two Grand Slams, and played the Masters in singles and doubles, but winning the Davis Cup tops it all.”




Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, SRB (hard – indoors)


Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 75 61 64

Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 63 64 63

Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 62 64 76(4)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 64 76(5) 62

Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 63 61 61


Czech Republic Take 2-1 Lead Over Serbia in Davis Cup Final

(November 16, 2013) The Czech Republic stands one win away from claiming the Davis Cup title. On Sunday the doubles rubber went to the Czech team of Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beating Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to give the visiting team a 2-1 lead. The Czech pair is now 14-1 in Davis Cup.

Novak Djokovic will face Tomas Berdych in the opening rubber on day 3.  The Setb has only lost Should Djokovic win, it will force a fifth and deciding rubber with Radek Stepanek playing either Dusan Lajovic or Ilija Bozoljac.

Before Saturday’s doubles rubber, Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic was honored with the Davis Cup Award of Excellence by the ITF and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The award recognizes a Davis Cup player, past or present, who demonstrates a strong commitment to the spirit of the competition. The award was presented on court by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and Serbian tennis great Slobodan Zivojinovic, a past recipient of the award.




Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, SRB (hard – indoors)


Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 75 61 64

Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 63 64 63

Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 62 64 76(4)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)

Dusan Lajovic (SRB) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)



Serbia and Czech Republic Tied at 1-1 in Davis Cup Final


(November 15) Serbia and Czech Republic are even at 1-1 at the end of day 1 of the Davis Cup World Group Final in Belgrade, Serbia. Both No. 1 players for their respective countries had easy victories.

No. 2 player in the world  Novak Djokovic won for the 23rd straight time since falling to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final in September with a win over Radek Stepanek. The first set provided the only drama of the day when Djokovic was broken in the first set while serving for the set at 5-3.

Djokovic admitted that he was nervous in the first set feeling the importance to win the match over his Czech opponent.

In the second rubber of the day the Czech Republic evened the tie when Tomas Berdych dispatched world No. 117 Dusan Lajovic in Straight sets. Lajovic was a replacement for an injured Janko Tipsarevic.





Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, SRB (hard – indoors)


Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 75 61 64

Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 63 64 63

Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) v Jan Hajek/Lukas Rosol (CZE)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)

Dusan Lajovic (SRB) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)



Tennis Channel to Air Davis Cup Final This Weekend in US


(November 14, 2013) LOS ANGELES, -Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of defending champion Czech Republic’s and Serbia’s Davis Cup final competition in Belgrade, Serbia, this weekend. Live and same-day “Instant Encore” replays will air Friday through Sunday. Highlighting the competition, World No. 6 Tomas Berdych will face World No. 2 and 2013 ATP World Tour Finals champion Novak Djokovic for the first time since Wimbledon, when Berdych fell to the Serbian during the quarterfinals. Djokovic has the career upper hand, holding a 14-2 record against the Czech Republic’s top-ranked player.


The competition will consist of two singles matches on Friday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the doubles match Saturday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m. ET. Tennis Channel’s coverage concludes with the remaining singles play Sunday, Nov. 17, at 8 a.m. ET. Each of the five matches is worth one point, with the team that wins at least three points winning the Davis Cup title. Each afternoon Tennis Channel will offer an encore presentation of the day’s Davis Cup action.


Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) and Doug Adler will handle play-by-play responsibilities during Tennis Channel’s Davis Cup coverage this weekend, with former U.S. Davis Cup player Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) in the analyst’s role. At the end of each day’s live telecast Haber and Gimelstob will break down the matches on Tennis Channel Live, the network’s new studio show. Hall of Famer Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) will join them on the set during each afternoon’s half-hour program.


Coverage from Serbia’s Belgrade Arena(ET, subject to change):

Friday, Nov. 15:

10 a.m. – Live Singles #1

1 p.m. – Live Singles #2

{4:30 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #1}

{7:30 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2}

{11 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #1}


Saturday, Nov. 16:

{6:30a.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2}

10 a.m. – Live Doubles

{3:30 p.m. – Instant Encore Doubles}

{9 p.m. – Instant Encore Doubles}


Sunday, Nov. 17:

8 a.m. – Live Singles #1

11 a.m. – Live Singles #2

{4:30 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #1}

{9 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #1}

{12a.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2}


The Czech Republic and Serbia have faced each other 11 times in Davis Cup play, with the Czech Republic holding a 6-5 advantage. The most recent competition was during the 2012 Davis Cup quarterfinal, when the Czech team won 4-1. However, Serbia claimed victory over the Czech Republic in the 2010 semifinals en route to capturing the nation’s first Davis Cup title.


Serbia enters this weekend’s championship after defeating Canada 3-2 during this year’s semifinals. The Serbian team is captained by Bogdan Obradovic and features Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic, Ilija Boozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic.


The Czech Republic enters the competition for the third time in five years after a 3-2 semifinal victory over Argentina, and is bidding to win its second-consecutive Davis Cup crown, and third title overall. The Czech Republic’s captain Jaroslav Navratil has been hospitalized with a blood clot and Vladimir Safarik will lead Berdych, Radek Stepanek, Lukas Rosol and Jan Hajek into the finals this weekend.


Ivanovic Surprises Germany In World Group Playoff

Ana Ivanovic

By Tumaini Carayol

(April 21, 2013) STUTTGART – There were few surprises on the first day of the Fed Cup World Group playoff tie between Germany and Serbia. As expected, Ana Ivanovic maneuvered past Mona Barthel in a tight three-set contest that showcased the young German’s knack for producing both the spectacular and the gruesome in equal measure. Similarly predicable was a tough but straightforward victory for Germany’s own number one, as Angelique Kerber outran Bojana Jovanovski to balance the tie precariously at 1-1.


As the two number ones took to court on Sunday, first indications pointed to a yet another predictable result as Kerber raced to a 3-0 lead over the former French Open champion. Ivanovic arrived attempting to play her well-known attacking tennis, but struggled to find a sizable chink in the German’s defense Before long, the Serb faced the indignity of possibly falling to a 0-4 deficit and yet another tame loss to a top player appeared likelier with every stroke.


A myriad of loopy backhands, a handful slices and a few dropshots later, the first surprise of the weekend arose. Ivanovic suddenly moved further behind the baseline and, seemingly on a whim, decided that the world number five was deserving of none of the pace the Serb had been feeding her with. It’s no secret that – as Sara Errani can proudly attest to – Kerber detests “junk” and struggles when forced to create her own pace. The scoreline also agreed. From 3-0 and break point, Kerber suddenly found herself down 3-4 as Ivanovic flipped the match on its head, opening up a box of tricks that had steadily collected dust since that glorious spring in 2008.


From 4-3, a shift occurred, confidence appeared to well up inside of Ivanovic as the aggressive play returned. Though she continued to struggle on her return of serve, Ivanovic attempted to wash away her opponent by returning to the familiar feeling of dominating with her forehand. The times she found herself down break point, she responded by aggressively playing her way out of danger or else attacking before throwing in a well-timed slice to throw her opponent off. Kerber hung on, but the rapidly rising wave of inevitability eventually crashed down. Ivanovic broke in the twelfth game to take the set 7-5, fittingly ending with Kerber struggling to time yet another pace-changer from Ivanovic’s racket and directing a forehand into the tramlines.


The second set followed a similar pattern as the pair exchanged service holds during the early stages. Once again, Ivanovic broke at an important moment – the ever-pivotal eighth game – and appeared well on her way to capturing the match up 7-5, 5-3. After scraping back triple break point down, she finally found herself up match point. A big first serve followed, and all that stood between Ivanovic and her first claycourt top five victory was an short backhand. Two seconds later, the backhand was dumped into the middle of the net and ten minutes later the scores were tied at 5-5.


The predictable response from Ivanovic after failing so spectacularly on match point would have been a total collapse as Kerber finally burst to life with a slew of her own trademark passing shots. However, in her own words, Ivanovic remained calm and coolly held serve for 6-5. More match points passed by but this time she refused to be affected as she gleefully sank to her knees after eventually closing out a masterclass in playing reactionary tennis and adjusting her gameplan mid-match. Now that – that was a surprise.

Tumaini Carayol is in Suttgart covering the Fed Cup World Group Playoff for Tennis Panorama News. He is a contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault.