Game, set, match over

Aleksandra Wozniak was the last Canadian who went down in defeat at the Rogers Cup. (Sun Media/Stan...

Aleksandra Wozniak was the last Canadian who went down in defeat at the Rogers Cup. (Sun Media/Stan Behal)

BILL LANKHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

Oh, Canada ... We suck.

OK, maybe that's a little harsh. But for Canadian tennis fans there is no joy at the Rogers Cup.

Two days ago, tournament organizers were selling this event as a showcase for the renaissance of Canadian tennis.

Stephanie Dubois, Heidi El Tabakh, Valerie Tetreault, Sharon Fichman and Aleksandra Wozniak are part of the evolving face of women's tennis in this country. Within 48 hours, all were in a position familiar to Canadian players at this event -- they were spectators.

The last Canadian in the tournament, Wozniak, was thoroughly outmatched in her first-round test against world No. 35 Alisa Kleybanova, losing 6-4, 6-4.

Wozniak's ouster was the cruelest of the five early exits. She has been ranked as high as 21st in the world and there were expectations of a third-round meeting with world No. 1 Dinara Safina.

Wozniak's day became a total wipeout when she and her doubles partner, Toronto's Fichman, lost 6-1, 6-7 (5-7) 0-1 (4-10) to Poland's Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska.

Wozniak caused a minor stir in Canadian tennis earlier this year, reaching the fourth round of the French Open, the highest finish by a Canadian in the event in 17 years. Then there has been much talk about Canada having six women in the WTA's top 200.

"It's disappointing. This is the tournament I want to win so bad. Maybe some day," said Wozniak, who last year became the first Canadian to win a singles title on the tour in 20 years.

Wozniak led the first set 3-1 but things unravelled when Kleybanova broke to go up 5-4, and then gave up just one point to win the next game and set. After that, the end seemed inevitable, with Kleybanova overpowering Wozniak with a serve that topped 180 k.p.h.

"The first set was really close," Wozniak said. "I had chances to win. She hit an aggressive ball and it was hard for me to change the directions like I wanted. I should've mixed it up more. It wasn't my best tennis."

ON HER HEELS

Wozniak appeared constantly on the defensive as Kleybanova hit winners to go up 3-1 in the second set. Wozniak did get it back to 3-2 but sat with a towel over her face at the break -- and perhaps it would be fair to wonder if it wasn't just because of the simmering temperatures. When Kleybanova wasn't overpowering with her serve, she was hitting angles that made a return almost impossible.

After being on a roll through July, Wozniak finds herself in a funk with one win in her last eight matches. In four tournaments since Wimbledon, she has failed to advance past the second round and her ranking has dropped 18 spots since June.

Yesterday, she rallied and broke Kleybanova to get back to 3-3 but "in the more crucial moments where one of us could take an advantage ... she stepped up," Wozniak said. Kleybanova came right back to break serve for the 4-3 lead. It was over.

Meantime, Faye Urban, now a supply teacher in Toronto, remains the last Canadian to win this event 40 years ago. Some things (heavy sigh) never change.


Videos

Photos