Hoping for a Sharapova sighting

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

There are three marquee names in women's tennis: Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova.

In terms of the Rogers Cup, those names temporarily have been changed to "yes," "no" and "maybe" -- in that order.

The official draw for the Rogers Cup tourney at the Rexall Centre at York University was held yesterday, and Sharapova remains listed as the top seed.

The 18-year-old Russian sensation withdrew from a tournament in California on Friday because of a strained right pectoral muscle, throwing into doubt her participation in the Toronto event this week.

"The fact (Sharapova) didn't pull out (yesterday) means she wants to try," said Stacey Allaster, the tournament director for Tennis Canada. "If, mentally and emotionally, there was absolutely no way she was going to try to make it, we were not going to proceed with her in the draw.

"But there is a chance."

Sharapova is not scheduled to play until Wednesday.

So what are the odds?

"It's not 50-50, that's for sure," Allaster admitted.

However, it appears all systems are go for Serena Williams. Sister Venus withdrew on Friday because of a lingering flu, but Serena was scheduled to arrive in Toronto last night.

"(Serena) has asked for a Tuesday start," Allaster said. "I look forward to seeing her on site (today), since I'm sure she'll be here to practise."

There are three Canadians entered in the main draw -- Marie-Eve Pelletier, Aleksandra Wozniak and Stephanie Dubois -- but Canadians went 0-7 in the first round of qualifying yesterday.

Sharon Fichman, a 14-year-old Torontonian who has turned heads in the tennis world, had a rough afternoon, falling 6-0, 6-1 to Rika Fujiwara of Japan.

"It was a great experience," Fichman said. "It wasn't how I wanted it to turn out. But it was only my second match in a professional tournament, so it's a new level."

Was it strange for Fichman playing in her home town?

"It wasn't strange, I loved it," she said. "I had a bunch of friends and family here."


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