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Pro Tennis Showcase
August 17, 2009

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2009 Rogers Cup (Women)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada - August 17, 2009
Editorial by Jane Voigt.

Photography by John Meaney.

 

Jane Voigt Photo
Jane Voigt

Rogers Cup Kicks Off
 
August 17, 2009 -- The Rogers Cup came to life today at Toronto's Rexall Centre on the campus of York University. With Canadian fans panting in the stifling heat, stands were a bit sparse for the late morning matches. However, as evening rolled around and the sun settled into the western horizon, enthusiasm built for the doubles exhibition match between partners Monica Seles and Canada's own Aleksandra Wozniak and their opponents Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams.

Following the match, Monica Seles was honored as she was inducted into the 2009 Rogers Cup Hall of Fame -- founded by Edward S. Rogers in 2006. Seles won her first title here in 1995 -- her first match back from the terrible stabbing two and a half years prior in Hamburg. She went on to defend her Rogers Cup title for the next three years.

"You have given me many wonderful memories," she told the audience, which sat quietly seemingly in awe of the contributions and sacrifices Seles made to tennis.

The Rogers Cup is the next to last stop for the women in the 2009 Olympus U. S. Open Series. Doing well in the U. S. Open Series means bonus bucks after The U. S. Open, but only if players have been able to compete well, remain healthy, and win with consistency -- tough terms for slamming balls on the hot hard-courts of America, and Canada.

The top eight seeds here at The Rogers Cup use the hard court matches to prepare for the most important tournament of the summer -- The U. S. Open.

"For us it's important to get some matches in before the U. S. Open," Caroline Wozniacki, the #8 seed, said. "We're getting used to the heat and the time change. We have to plan where you want to play. I choose to play four matches. If you do well here, though, you get the bonus. But I only think about one match at a time."

Svetlana Kuznetsova finds planning for the U. S. Open Series a problem. She doesn't like to be away from her Moscow home for the weeks before the final Grand Slam of the year.

"It's not my goal to be in the U. S. Open Series, to get more prize money because it's really hard to plan for," she said. "If I do well, it's good. For me it's very hard to stay in the states that long and so far from home. Yes, that's why I don't play all the matches."

Jelena Jankovic, winner of last week's Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open, and Flavia Pennetta are currently tied for first place in the U. S. Open Series with 115 points.

"With or without it players want to get in as many matches as possible on hard courts," Jankovic began. "Theses events are the best possible preparation for the U. S. Open. And on top of that you can double the money if you play good. I think it's great and I enjoy playing all the tournaments. I play three before the U. S. Open."

Asked if she knew she was tied for the lead, the #6 seed said, "I hope I can continue and do well here."

About winning the U. S. Open and the U. S. Open Series Jankovic laughed and said, "If I do that it would be a nice bonus."

The bonus is one million U. S. dollars, if you win both the Open and the Series. Kim Clijsters is the last woman to have done that in 2002. She was awarded a wildcard here this week and sits in Jankovic's quarter of the draw. Clijsters won The Rogers Cup in 2005.

Elena Dementieva, seeded 4 this week, also thinks the U. S. Open Series is a great idea. She believes it's an incentive for players to compete.

"The biggest tournament is the U. S. Open. You don't want to play too much before that, but you really need to play some good matches to get your confidence and feel your game," Dementieva said. "I think it's a fine line. You don't want to go too much. But, It's always nice to play against top ten players just to see who is in good shape and who is not, and to see the level of the game and get ready for New York."

Dinara Safina is the defending champion of The Rogers Cup singles title. She is also currently ranked #1 in the world. Her presence here shows her commitment to her game and her desire to improve it -- her goal being a Grand Slam title. But she is not concerned about the U. S. Open Series.

Safina is only playing three of the five tournaments offered. She doesn't want to play any more than that.

"First of all I'm not a machine," Safina said. "We are human beings and normally we get tired. I make a schedule that fits me better but not to get one-hundred percent better for the U. S. Open Series."

Around the courts today, Canadian qualifier Heidi El Tabakh proved worthy of her main draw berth as she battled the surging Samantha Stosur on the Grandstand Court. El Tabakh showed no signs of timidity against a woman who many consider the second best server in the women's game. (Serena is considered number one.) Tabakh's return of serve was formidable, and her groundstrokes consistently penetrated deep in the court.

"She's not afraid. She lets her have it," one fan said, after watching a point in the match.

Stosur, currently ranked seventeen, looked to have the second set, and match, well in hand at 4/1. However, El Tabakh came back to force a tiebreak.

"It was a very close first set," El Tabakh said. "The second set was close, too. Yeah, so I felt good out there for the most part."

Stosur won the match 76 (2) 76 (4), but the 196th ranked player had a good week and plans to re-think her tournament schedule, playing more WTA tournaments rather than Challenger Series tournaments. Tabakh now knows she cam beat some of the tour players.

"I kind of proved to myself that I do belong at this level, so I think I feel very good, very confident," El Tabakh said.

Two other players from Canada were eliminated today, too. Qualifier Yanina Wickmayer lost to Katerina Bondarenko 76 (4) 62; and, Roberta Vinci defeated wildcard Stephanie Dubois 61 62. However, Aleksandra Wozniak, Canada's hope for a title, will play tomorrow. She is currently ranked #40 in the Sony Ericsson WTA ranking system.


 
 
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. [10] Nadia Petrova (RUS) [white/pink outfit] 63 64
 
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Nadia Petrova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Nadia Petrova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Nadia Petrova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova
Tennis - Maria Sharapova

 
 
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. [13] Marion Bartoli (FRA) [pink top] 64 63
 
Tennis - Alona Bondarenko
Tennis - Alona Bondarenko
Tennis - Marion Bartoli
Tennis - Marion Bartoli
Tennis - Marion Bartoli
Tennis - Alona Bondarenko
Tennis - Alona Bondarenko
Tennis - Alona Bondarenko
Tennis - Alona Bondarenko

 
 
[14] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [white visor] d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 63
 
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Carla Suarez Navarro
Tennis - Carla Suarez Navarro
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Agnieszka Radwanska
Tennis - Carla Suarez Navarro
Tennis - Carla Suarez Navarro
Tennis - Carla Suarez Navarro

 
 
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. [15] Amélie Mauresmo (FRA) [blue outfit] 62 36 61
 
Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo
Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo
Tennis - Francesca Schiavone
Tennis - Francesca Schiavone
Tennis - Francesca Schiavone
Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo
Tennis - Amelie Mauresmo

 
 
Aravane Rezai (FRA) [black visor] d. Alizé Cornet (FRA) 64 75
 
Tennis - Aravane Rezai
Tennis - Alize Cornet
Tennis - Aravane Rezai
Tennis - Aravane Rezai
Tennis - Alize Cornet
Tennis - Alize Cornet
Tennis - Alize Cornet
Tennis - Alize Cornet
Tennis - Alize Cornet
Tennis - Aravane Rezai
Tennis

 
 
(Q) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (WC) Stéphanie Dubois (CAN) [white visor] 61 62
 
Tennis - Roberta Vinci
Tennis - Stephanie Dubois
Tennis - Stephanie Dubois
Tennis - Stephanie Dubois
Tennis - Stephanie Dubois
Tennis - Roberta Vinci
Tennis - Roberta Vinci
Tennis - Roberta Vinci
Tennis - Roberta Vinci
Tennis - Stephanie Dubois
Tennis - Stephanie Dubois
Tennis - Roberta Vinci
Tennis - Roberta Vinci
Tennis

 
 

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