Victoria Duval wins Tevlin Challenger in Toronto


(November 3, 2013) TORONTONo. 7-seeded American Victoria Duval was crowned champion of the 2013 Tevlin Challenger on Sunday after her opponent in the final, top-seeded Timea Babos of Hungary, was forced to retire due to respiratory illness at the start of the second set to give Duval the 7-5 ret. victory at the $50K ITF Pro Circuit event at Rexall Centre in Toronto.

Babos advanced into the final despite struggling with illness all week, and though it was evident versus Duval she was not feeling well, the 20-year-old kept the match close. Duval started strongly, breaking to start the contest before Babos evened up it up after six games to make it 3-3. Babos took a medical timeout after falling behind again 5-4, with the pair then exchanging breaks before Duval was able to serve out the first set. Babos then went down 0-30 on her serve to start the second set before being unable to continue.

The win gives Duval her first career professional singles title and a sweep of the 2013 Tevlin Challenger trophies, as the 17-year-old also clinched her first pro-level doubles title on Friday alongside Canadian partner Francoise Abanda (Montreal).

“It feels great,” Duval said of capturing her first pro crown. “Unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish the match the way I wanted to but it was a really good experience. It was a great week here starting with the doubles. I had a really good time, so hopefully if I don’t come back it means I’m on to bigger and better things.”

Duval, currently ranked world No. 198, defeated three higher-ranked players en route to the trophy, world No. 113 Mandy Minella of Luxembourg in the quarter-finals, No. 141 Andrea Hlavackova of Czech Republic in the semifinals, and No. 95 Babos in the championship match.

“I think mentally is how this week has helped me the most,” Duval said. “Starting from the first round I’ve had to really struggle with tough matches so I think this is definitely a confidence booster for me.”

Taking place at the Centre of Excellence at Rexall Centre in Toronto, the Tevlin Challenger has been running for nine years. Duval now joins an impressive list of past champions that includes 2012 winner Eugenie Bouchard, who is now ranked world No. 32, Aleksandra Wozniak, Heather Watson, and Sabine Lisicki.


Serena Williams Routs Sorana Cirstea for Toronto Title


Final Conference 015

By Brodie Elgin

(August 11, 2013) TORONTO – Another year, another title in Toronto for Serena Williams at the Rogers Cup. In 2011, it was an emotional return from injury for Williams as she needed six matches to take the title as an unseeded player, eventually defeating Samantha Stosur in the final. This year, a title run looked imminent as the 31 year-old American did not drop a set all tournament and eventually defeated Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-0 in Sunday’s final.


“No tournament is ever easy, especially being in the position I am in. The tournament starts and they expect you to win,” said Williams. “Even though I won Sweden, I was not happy with the way I played. So I went home and was working with my dad a lot and just going back to the basics.” Williams won her second Roland Garros title this year and despite playing so well this week, admitted the big moments can still get to her. “I had butterflies today. I will have butterflies at the Open. Hopefully I will have seven singles matches at the Open.”


Williams clearly enjoys playing in Toronto, having lost just two sets in her past 11 matches in the city. “Drake came out today. We are really good friends. We have always been good friends.”

Final Conference 005

For the 23 year-old Romanian, it has been a career week. Cirstea saved two match points, defeated two former number 1s as well as defeating two former champions. While Sorana was tearful after the match, they may have been more tears of joy than disappointment, as she thanked her coaches, Victor Ionita and Darren Cahill for their help as well as the support from the fans, saying Toronto was her new favorite tournament. “I usually I am quite emotional, but of course I was a little bit disappointed. I think even if I would have won I would have been crying,” laughed Cirstea after the match. “I didn’t expect to be that emotional, but that’s me.” “I’m looking forward to coming back here, because it’s been an amazing week.” Cirstea will reach a career high rank of 21 on Monday morning.


Despite the fact that Williams will be the top seed at Flushing Meadows and is the prime favorite to win her fifth US Open title, the American says there is still work to be done and there are always things to improve on. “For me, it’s always about constantly improving and never saying I did great and I can be satisfied. For me, it’s like I did great but what can I do better? What can I improve on? That’s what I always strive for.”


Both finalists will now travel to Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open. Serena Williams is the top seed and will play a qualifier in her opening match, and Sorana Cirstea will play Washington doubles partner Yanina Wickmayer, with a win potentially setting up a rematch from earlier in the week against Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.


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


Serena Williams Pushes Past Radwanska to Advance to Toronto Final

SerenaWilliams MadridOpen5-7-12

By Brodie Elgin

(August 10, 2013) TORONTO – It is often said that athletes do not practice for when they play their best, but for when they play their worst. From very early on in their semifinal, it was clear Serena Williams did not have her best game. Serena had a clear plan to push Agnieszka Radwanska out wide while serving and attack the open space. However, she looked slow at times and missed several forehands to put points away.

After taking the first set in a tiebreak, Williams called for the trainer in what was officially announced as “gastro intestinal issues”.

“I just had some stomach problems. I’m fine,” said Williams. These problems may have contributed to Serena’s sometimes sporadic game that alternated between extreme aggression and surprisingly passive patterns of play. Williams eventually let her emotions get the better of her as she ended up screaming at no one in particular. “I was just a little frustrated with myself, I think, as well as I don’t think I was playing
as aggressive as I needed to play.”

Serena Williams Presser Saturday 011-001
This made for incredibly long rallies at times, typically ending with one player pushing another side to side and attempting to finish it at the net. “I think here the courts are not that fast and the balls also not that fast. That’s why we could play a lot of long rallies and long games,” said Radwanska.

Ultimately, Radwanska would drop her one break lead in the second set, as Williams did find a way to be more aggressive and largely over power her opponent, particularly with strong returning. The American broke to end the match, taking it 7-6(3), 6-4. Having won the 2011 Rogers Cup as an unseeded player, Williams has now won her last 10 matches in Toronto, and has yet to lose a set in this year’s edition of the tournament. “I love playing here. I have a lot of friends that always come out. It’s always like you really want them to keep coming, so it’s a good time.”

Her opponent in Sunday’s final will be Sorana Cirstea, a player she defeated handily in Roland Garros earlier this year, but has had a career week in Toronto. “Last few months she has been really consistent,” said the world No. 1. “She is just a player who has finally found herself, and she’s playing better and better and getting more confident. It’s going to be a really tough match.”

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.

Toronto, Canada
August 5-11, 2013

Results – Saturday, August 10, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 64
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (4) Li Na (CHN) 61 76(5)

Doubles – Semifinals
(3) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. (2) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 62 64
Jankovic/Srebotnik (SRB/SLO) d. (WC) Dabrowski/Fichman (CAN/CAN) 75 63

Order Of Play – Sunday, August 11, 2013
Centre Court (NB 13.00hrs)

1. Singles Final: Serena Williams vs. Sorana Cirstea
2. Doubles Final: Jankovic/Srebotnik vs. Groenefeld/Peschke


Sorana Cirstea Stuns Li Na to Reach Toronto Final

Sorana Presser Again 007-001

By Brodie Elgin

(August 10, 2013) TORONTO – Having already defeated two former world number ones and the 2012 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the task would not get any easier for Sorana Cirstea in the semifinals as she would be forced to take on 2012 Roland Garros champion and defending Rogers Cup finalist Li Na.


“Everyone knows that I start a little bit slow,” Cirstea said on Thursday. “I think if you looked at the matches from last year, I’m sure I had even more rounds where I came from a set behind. But this year I’ve been trying to change a little bit, and for me to actually start better from the beginning and try to get ahead.” While the Romanian dropped the first set to Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova, she had no trouble starting against Li Na in their semifinal match in Toronto Saturday afternoon.


Cirstea quickly found ways to punch weak responses into the corners for winners and was dominating on serve, dropping just four points and not facing a break point all set. Li, on the other hand, struggled to find a rhythm early. She was particularly bothered by shots in the middle of the court, where she often failed to set her feet in time, or fired wide as she tried to create angles on her forehand. “I think today she was [playing] a little bit different. Today she was play sometime like topspin. Sometimes I was feeling she couldn’t hit a winner, but the ball [would come back] as a winner,” Li said smiling. “She’s got a lot of confidence right now.”


In a blistering 21 minutes, Cirstea took the first set 6-1. “I would have said I am a slow starter, but as I have proved this week, things are changing,” said a smiling Cirstea after the match.


Both players called down their coaches. Li Na admitted she didn’t exactly take much of her husband’s advice. “I offer him to come to the court. I never listen [to] what he says,” she joked. “Like, left in, right out, you know.” She also confirmed coach Carlos Rodriguez would be joining her in Cincinnati.


Unsurprisingly, the streaky Li raised her game and managed to reach deuce on her first return game. Eventually serving for the second set at 5-3, Li was broken twice and was forced to try to break Cirstea, who served for the match at 6-5. After blowing two match points and being broken, it would have been easy for the Romanian to get down on herself. “Once I lost that game, I was fine. I was like, “okay, let’s try and get this tiebreak.”” She fought back in the tiebreak from a 1-4 deficit, and eventually won on her third match point via a Li double fault, taking the match and advancing to the final 6-1, 7-6(5). “I think that’s another big change for me, because maybe before I would get down on myself.”


Despite being ranked in the top 30 for some time, this is just Cirstea’s third career WTA final and her first since winning the now defunct 2008 Tashkent Open. Cirstea acknowledged that she wouldn’t be thinking about the final today, but her smile indicated she might feel a few nerves Sunday morning. “I’m still trying to enjoy this victory, because it’s a good one for me. When I’m going to wake up tomorrow, I’m going to start worrying about the final.”


Regardless of Sunday’s result, this is surely the greatest week of Cirstea‘s career. “This is probably the biggest tournament so far, but I think it’s the start of something good. Everything is based on hard work. Everyone can see that I have been doing some great steps in the right direction.” Cirstea continued to give glowing credit to both of her coaches, particularly Darren Cahill’s inspiring pep talks. “I have been working with Darren for six years, and I was the first girl that he ever coached coming into the Adidas player development team. He’s amazing. Both of these victories are his in a way.”


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.


Cirstea Continues Her Run in Toronto Beating Kvitova to Reach Semis

Sorana Cirstea Presser 002-001

By Brodie Elgin

(August 9, 2013) TORONTO – Down two match points late Wednesday night to Caroline Wozniacki, one more lost point would have made for a respectable, closely fought second round loss for Sorana Cirstea. They were impressively saved, the second with a blistering down the line backhand winner, and Cirstea quickly reeled off 15 straight points and eventually won the match in three sets. She did not face another match point all match.


It was the sort of odd break that can give a player a new found life in a tournament. The Romanian defeated Jankovic in straight sets less than 24 hours later, and was faced with the tough task of playing Czech Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals. It was also the first time Cirstea had played on the Toronto centre court.


An admitted slow starter, it was more of the same from Cirstea who fought back from 0-3 to tie the match at 3-3, but was less than impressive later in the set as she was broken to love to drop the set, 6-4. Having played Cirstea four times prior, Kvitova was ready for the challenge in the second set. “Well, I knew that she can come back, for sure.  I mean, when we played in Rome she came back too and in the second set, and I was ready for it. ”


Cirstea did indeed play well, quickly winning the first four games of the second set. Things quickly got away from her, and she called her coach down after losing three straight games. “he came at 4‑3 in the second set, and he pointed at the little girl in the stand and said, Where does she want to be?  I said, Here in my place playing.  So he said, Okay, so that’s why you are here for.  That’s why you have been doing all the work.  That’s why you have been sacrificing everything for these moments.  There is no other place in the world where you’d rather be. That speech had nothing to do with tennis.  It was just motivational.”


Eventually forced to serve to stay in the set, Cirstea did so convincingly and eventually took the set 7-5. It was a similar story to start the third as Cirstea took the first four games yet again. There was no let up this time, as the Romanian won the set and the match, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.


Having previously won a WTA title in Tashkent as well as making the Roland Garros quarterfinals at age 19, this is one of the greatest weeks of Cirstea’s career, still only 23 years old. “It’s probably the best tournament in a long, long time.  As I said, it might come as a surprise, you know, to many people. I don’t think for me and my team it’s such a big surprise, because we have been working consistently  on things. From week to week I got better.  So it’s come kind of like a natural step.” Her continued calmness on court and new sense of self belief helped her win her tenth match this season after dropping the first set. “Maybe before in the important moments I didn’t really have that belief in me which now, you know, I know that any moment I can turn it around.”


In particular, Cirstea is becoming more comfortable in reeling in her aggression when things aren’t going her way, and developing a plan B in difficult situations. “When I have a great day, you know, everything, it’s going my way, I hit winners left and right.  But when I don’t really have a good day, I don’t really have much to rely on, which now we have been working to have that base now, to have that solid game that no matter what happens, know that sort of game, it’s day in, day out. So of course now I have that base. I can play long rallies, you know, and then just accelerate whenever I feel is the right moment.”


Overall, it was a disappointing loss for Kvitova as the defending champion from the 2012 Montreal version of the Rogers Cup. She admitted to feeling tired after not being able to sleep well following her Thursday night victory over Samanth Stosur. “At the beginning of the second set I [started] to feel a little bit low on energy. The serve was really bad after this, and I didn’t find energy from my legs,” said the Czech. “Unfortunately, when I finished so late here, I didn’t sleep well after.”


Next up for Sorana Cirstea is Li Na, a player she has played five times but beaten only once – 2012 Wimbledon. “She’s always a very solid player.She’s quite aggressive. It’s gonna be a very, very good match.”


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.



Radwanska and Li Na Gain Toronto Semis


By Brodie Elgin

(August 9, 2013) TORONTO – At 2-2 in the first set, Sara Errani winced. This wasn’t the first time she had played Agnieszka Radwanska. Last year the two battled to an eventual Radwanska victory in Istanbul at the Year End Championships, a match which lasted a staggering 3 hours and 29 minutes. She knew she was in for a strange match. As the sun beat down, the breaks came from all imaginable scenarios; great volleys at the net, bad errors, and winners after grueling points.”  I think we were playing a bit similar tennis.  That’s why a lot of running, a lot of long rallies, and that’s why I think our matches are always very long,” said Radwanska, prior to facing Errani.


With both players trading service holds to start the match, Radwanska and Errrani traded a nearly unbelievable 11 straight breaks before Radwanska finally held found herself up a commanding 7-6(1), 2-0 lead.


With neither player creating much pace, both players needed to find new ways to finish points or move players around. Errani was at her most effective when able to hit her forehand up the line or find extreme angles to spin the forehand cross court. However, Radwanska did an excellent job of trying to keep the ball to Errani’s backhand, particularly on her return, and getting to net to finish points when possible.


Unsurprisingly, the break lead didn’t last long and Errani and Rawanska battled to an even 5-5. With a couple of Errani errors, Radwanska broke yet again and finally put together a straight forward hold with four impressive winners, taking the match 7-6(1), 7-5 and advancing to the semifinals. She awaits Serena Williams.

 10062012 China Open Li Na in press 2

In the second semifinal of the day, Li Na had a straight forward win over Dominika Cibulkova, in 1 hour and 36 minutes. A streaky first set meant both players held and broke service three times each. But it was Li who would effectively raise her game in the tiebreak to win it 7-6(1).



Li insisted she wanted to continue to stick to her guns in the second set, and felt she was playing well. “I was thinking about, okay, one set.  Second set you should just continue to do what you should do.  You don’t have to be looking at what the opponent do.” From then on it was smooth sailing against Cibulkova, who recently won Stanford and is playing in her third straight week. Li saved both break points she faced in the second set and served at a cool 75% to take it easily, 6-2.


“I haven’t lost to her, but every time is tough.  I mean, never has [there been an] easy one,” said Li. “She was running pretty fast on the court, and she can hit everywhere on the court. So I have to ready for every second; otherwise I will lose the point.”


Li will take on Sorana Cirstea in the semifinals on Saturday. Li leads the head to head 5-1, including winning their two most recent matches, both on hard courts.

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.



WTA Toronto and ATP Montreal – Thursday Results, Friday Schedule

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


Singles – Third Round
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d D Istomin (UZB) 26 64 64
E Gulbis (LAT) d [2] A Murray (GBR) 64 63
[4] R Nadal (ESP) d [15] J Janowicz (POL) 76(6) 64
[WC] V Pospisil (CAN) d [5] T Berdych (CZE) 75 26 76(5)
[11] M Raonic (CAN) d [6] J Del Potro (ARG) 75 64
[7] R Gasquet (FRA) d [9] K Nishikori (JPN) 16 63 63
[Q] M Matosevic (AUS) d B Paire (FRA) 76(7) 67(10) 63
N Davydenko (RUS) d [Q] A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) 64 63

Doubles – Second Round
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d A Seppi (ITA) / M Youzhny (RUS) 63 64
[2] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) d G Dimitrov (BUL) / P Kohlschreiber (GER) 63 62
[3] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d T Berdych (CZE) / M Llodra (FRA) 36 76(4) 10-6
C Fleming (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) d [4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) 63 63
[5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) d P Andujar (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) walkover
[6] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) d D Inglot (GBR) / J Janowicz (POL) 63 64
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d [8] M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) 62 46 12-10

CENTRAL start 12:00
[WC] V Pospisil (CAN) vs N Davydenko (RUS)

Not Before 14:00

[11] M Raonic (CAN) vs E Gulbis (LAT)

Not Before 18:00
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [7] R Gasquet (FRA)

Not Before 20:00
[4] R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] M Matosevic (AUS)

BN COURT start 14:00
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs [2] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP)
[7] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) vs [3] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)
C Fleming (GBR) / A Murray (GBR) vs [5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED)

Not Before 19:00
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [6] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN)



Toronto, Canada

August 5-11, 2013

Results - Thursday, August 8, 2013
Singles – Third Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (13) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 60 63
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (14) Sloane Stephens (USA) 61 76(2)
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (16) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 36 61 76(5)
(5) Sara Errani (ITA) d. Alizé Cornet (FRA) 75 76(3)
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 63 63
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (7/WC) Marion Bartoli (FRA) 76(5) 10 ret. (abdominal injury)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (10) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 63 76(4)
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (15) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 64

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(2) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. Kalashnikova/Rosolska (GEO/POL) 64 62

Doubles – Second Round
Jankovic/Srebotnik (SRB/SLO) d. (6) Huber/Llagostera Vives (USA/ESP) 64 61
Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova (GER/CZE) d. (WC) Hantuchova/Hingis (SVK/SUI) 62 64
(WC) Dabrowski/Fichman (CAN/CAN) d. Klemenschits/Savchuk (AUT/UKR) 67(4) 64 105 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Friday, August 9, 2013
Centre Court (from 11.00am)
1. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Sara Errani
2. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Li Na (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Petra Kvitova vs. Sorana Cirstea (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Serena Williams vs. Magdalena Rybarikova (NB 19.00hrs)

Grandstand (from 13.30am)
1. Kops-Jones/Spears vs. Jankovic/Srebotnik
2. Errani/Vinci vs. Dabrowski/Fichman (after suitable rest)
3. Goerges/Zahlavova Strycova vs. Groenefeld/Peschke (NB 16.00hrs)


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.


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.


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


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

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)



Toronto, Canada

August 5-11, 2013

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)