Canadians derailed at Rogers Cup

Valerie Tetreault returns a shot to Marion Bartoli at the Rogers Cup. (REUTERS/Shaun Best)

Valerie Tetreault returns a shot to Marion Bartoli at the Rogers Cup. (REUTERS/Shaun Best)

BRIAN DALY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 PM ET

MONTREAL - Six matches in five days were no problem for Czech qualifier Iveta Benesova, who scored the first major upset of the $2 million Rogers Cup by knocking off top-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic on Tuesday evening.

Benesova's 7-6 (3), 6-3 win was her third career victory over a top-10 opponent, having beaten then No. 10 Vera Zvonareva in South Carolina in 2005 and Mary Pierce, then ranked No. 5, at the 2006 Australian Open.

It was also her second career win against the 25-year-old Jankovic, who appeared lethargic following her third-round loss in Cincinnati on the weekend.

Benesova had to play three matches just to qualify for the main draw at Uniprix Stadium.

She knocked off Italian Sara Errani on Monday to set up her faceoff against Jankovic, the former world No. 1.

The 27-year-old underdog showed no signs of intimidation, hitting accurate forehand winners and seemingly gaining energy with every point.

Jankovic, on the other hand, seemed to lose confidence in the second set after rallying from 0-3 to tie it up, only to see her opponent win the next three games.

"It's a dream and I'm so happy," Benesova said at centre court.

"It was almost a perfect match for me. I felt good. This is my fifth (singles) match already but it just raised my confidence. I feel healthy so I'll see for the next match."

Benesova will next play the winner of Wednesday's match between Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan and France's Marion Bartoli (No. 17).

The home crowd rallied to Benesova's side during her upset win on Tuesday following a disappointing showing by hometown athletes.

All four Canadian singles players were eliminated in the first round this week.

The final one to fall was wild-card entry Valerie Tetreault of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., who went down in straight sets to No. 17 seed Marion Bartoli of France on Tuesday afternoon.

The score was 6-1, 6-0 in a match that took one hour nine minutes at centre court.

Tetreault said Bartoli, ranked No. 17 in the world, benefited from an advantage in game experience.

"Conditions were very windy and I think she handled it better," said Tetreault, who at 22 is four years younger than her French opponent.

"In my two first service games I had opportunities to go and win that game. Maybe that could have made a difference because she took the lead right away, she was confident, she never looked back."

Earlier in the afternoon, former Torontonian Heidi El-Tabakh also went down in straight sets, to unseeded Alisa Kleybanova.

The Russian won handily, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to the second round where she'll take on the winner of the match between No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki and Patty Schnyder of Switzerland.

The crowd at National Bank Court was firmly behind El-Tabakh throughout the match, but she had trouble with Kleybanova's strong and precise groundstrokes. The Russian won four of five break points, compared with zero for two for El-Tabakh. Kleybanova topped it off by recording three aces to none for her Canadian opponent.

"She didn't give me a chance to get into the match," said El-Tabakh, whose opponent won 76% of her service points.

"Even if I had break chances or a game point, she made sure that she put pressure on so that was tough to deal with."

El-Tabakh, 23, was born in Egypt and moved to Toronto when she was eight. She now trains in Tampa, Fla.

She'll take one day off before focusing on U.S. Open qualifying.

Aleksandra Wozniak of Montreal, the top-ranked Canadian in the world at No. 53, lost in straight sets Monday to Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky. Laval, Que. native Stephanie Dubois also lost Monday, 4-6, 7-5 and 6-3 to Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic.

Both Canadian doubles teams also have been eliminated — Marie-Eve Pelletier/Sharon Fichman, and El-Tabakh/Rebecca Marino.

OTHER RESULTS

In earlier singles action Tuesday, five seeded players all advanced over lower-ranked opponents.

Matinee winners included 10th-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 11th-seeded Russian Svetlana

Kuznetsova, No. 15 seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (No. 16) and No. 18 Nadia Petrova of Russia.


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