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Canadians ousted in Rogers Cup first round

Aug 09, 2017
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Three Canadians were present in the Rogers Cup main draw and each were handed a difficult first round opponent in Toronto this summer. Canada’s top female Eugenie Bouchard faced off against qualifier Donna Vekic (CRO) while Francoise Abanda met Lucie Safarova (CZE) and Bianca Andreescu made her Rogers Cup debut against Timea Babos (HUN).

Abanda was first up during Monday’s night session against Safarova.

An unfortunate rain delay halted the action across the grounds. Venus Williams and Irina-Camelia Begu, who played first on Centre Court, were forced to wait and come back to finish a long three set battle that lasted nearly two hours before Abanda and Safarova could come out.

Abanda and Safarova walked onto court after 11 p.m. and finished just before 1 a.m.. The match was played on even terms and the stats were nearly identical: each with two aces, over 60% first serve percentage, and winning roughly 40% of second service points. Safarova had a small advantage in break point conversion (4/7 compared to Abanda’s 2/8) which made the difference. A close, tight battle ended with Safarova winning 6-4, 6-4.

Eugenie Bouchard was the next Canuck up during Tuesday’s day session.

Canada’s top ranked female player faced off against in-form qualifier Donna Vekic on Centre Court during Tuesday’s day session. Bouchard advanced to the third round in 2016 with victories over Safarova and Dominika Cibulkova. Vekic’s summer has been highlighted by her second career title in Nottingham.

A marathon first game that lasted over 10 minutes immediately set an intense tone among the players and the Toronto crowd. Bouchard was broken to begin the match and soon found herself down a double break. The Canadian regained some control to earn a break back and had chances to get back on even terms but the Croatian showed consistency when it mattered.

Vekic won the match 6-3, 6-4. Bouchard did not have much to say on her performance in singles during her post-match press conference (she won in doubles with world no. 1 Karolina Pliskova) but she did site low confidence and too many unforced errors as the key issue in her loss.

17-year-old Bianca Andreescu was the last Canadian standing in singles. The world no. 144 wildcard was the youngest and lowest ranked player in the field.

The teenager made an aggressive start, showing maturity and calmness in a wild atmosphere. This is Andreescu’s first Rogers Cup main draw appearance and in her hometown, to boot. She came into the tournament with her first Top 20 win in Washington and a quarterfinal run at her first WTA event, but her serve had no impact on world no. 55 Babos. Andreescu served at a low 44% and struggled to defend her service games. She dropped the match 6-4, 6-1.

Despite the loss, Andreescu walked onto Centre Court on Tuesday night and made a name for herself in front of her home fans. The 17-year-old’s homecoming was made extra special thanks to the most thrilling point of Rogers Cup so far. The eruption of cheers inside Centre Court could be heard all across the grounds.

Bouchard (with Pliskova), Andreescu (with Carson Branstine) and Gabriela Dabrowski (with Jelena Ostapenko) are all still active in doubles.