Changing it up a little I decided to attend an evening session of the Rogers Cup 2008 Tennis Tournament. Arriving at the Uniprix Stadium at 6:00 p.m. It was a beautiful evening with not a hint of rain, so I prepared myself for a long night of exciting tennis. The highlight of the evening promised to be the Center Court First Round matchup between Quebec's Aleksandra Wozniak and Taipei's Yung-Jan Chan.
First I strolled over to the National Bank Court to watch 8th seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia take on Virginie Razzano of France. Zvonareva was heavily favoured going into the match, but Razzano proved to be no push over. The first set was all Razzano and she won 6-3. She was matching Zvonareva's power stroke for stroke at this point and forcing the Russian into many errors. Zvonareva was making too many mistakes off of the forehand side. It was going to be no easy first round match for the favourite.
The second set proved to be the complete opposite with Zvonareva imposing her game and breaking Razzano in the 2nd game. Was the tide turning? At 3-0 Zvonareva, Razzano called for a medical time out and had the trainer look at her shoulder. Favouring her shoulder, Razzano seemed out of sorts in the second set and Zvonareva broke her again to go up 5-1. Holding her serve to win the second set 6-1, Zvonareva had to feel more confident going into the third and deciding set.
Zvonareva continued her hot streak by breaking Razzano in the 1st game of the 3rd set. The 8th seed cut down greatly on her errors and Razzano was committing more than her share at this point. Zvonareva broke her again to go up 4-1. Did she smell victory? Razzano put an end to those premature hopes when she broke right back to 2-4 and then broke Zvonareva again to level the 3rd set at 4-4. Both held their serves to arrive at 6-6 and a tiebreak.
During the tiebreak each had a mini break in the beginning then Zvonareva fell apart. Two straight double faults put her in the hole 5-2 (tiebreak is first to 7 points with a two point margin of victory). She was clearly upset and threw her visor. Too little too late at this point. Razzano held both of her serves and won the tiebreak 7-2. This was an upset.
The highly anticipated 7:30 game on Center Court featuring Blainville's Aleksandra Wozniak was next up. The stands were full and the crowd was hyped from the very first point. They were clearly behind Wozniak and we would see if she could handle that pressure. Feeding off the energy of the crowd, Wozniak started very strong and broke Chan's first serve and cruised to a 6-2 1st set victory. The crowd was so happy they began the wave.
At the beginning of the 2nd set Chan changed her strategy and became more aggressive. Wozniak seemed to be thrown off by the change of pace. Chan broke Wozniak's first two service games for a 4-0 lead. Wozniak's serve was beginning to let her down with some double faults and a much lower first serve percentage. Chan turned the tables and won the 2nd set 6-1. We had another 3rd set to look forward to.
Was the pressure of the hometown crowd's expectations getting to Wozniak? The 3rd set started with more positive tennis from her as she held her first two service games. It was a tight 3rd set at 2-2. Wozniak finally managed to break Chan in the 6th game to go up 4-2. Chan kept everyone on the edge of his or her seat by breaking right back for 3-4. Buoyed by the vocal crowd, Wozniak upped her game and broke Chan in the 12th game for a 7-5 3rd set victory. The partisan crowd was going home happy.
There was still one more match to play on Center Court, which saw Russia's Elena Dementieva (seeded 5th) facing Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia. This was a second round match. The stands had emptied out some after the Wozniak game, but those who stayed must have expected the higher ranked and more experienced Dementieva to win. Very little seemed to be going according to plan on this evening, however.
Cibulkova started off on fire and Dementieva did not even win a single point until the 3rd game. The first set was up and down with each player playing well only in spots. Cibulkova finally won 6-4. The defeat seemed to deflate Dementieva and she went down quickly in the 2nd set 6-2. It was another upset to end the evening. Makes you wonder what is going to happen tomorrow at this unpredictable tournament.