|Sharon Fichman lost her match in the last round of qualifying for the Rogers Cup to Simona Halep at the Rexall Centre in Toronto, Ont., Aug. 7, 2011. (STAN BEHAL/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Home, at least on the tennis court, wasn't so inviting for Sharon Fichman, after all.
Fichman, the last remaining Canadian qualifier trying to advance to the main draw at her hometown Rogers Cup, was sent packing with a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Simona Halep of Romania on Sunday at the Rexall Centre.
With Toronto-born Fichman out of the women's singles draw, just four Canadians -- Rebecca Marino of Vancouver and three Quebecers, Eugenie Bouchard, Stephanie Dubois and Aleksandra Wozniak -- will fly the flag when the tournament kicks into high gear Monday. Marino, playing in the main draw for the first time, and Wozniak, coming off a convincing win over American Jamie Hampton in the final of the Odlum Brown Van Open on Sunday in Vancouver, have the best chance of moving past the first round.
With Fichman ranked 187th in the world and Halep 55th, the result was probably pre-ordained before the two stepped on to the grandstand court. But it didn't help that Fichman turned in a less than memorable show, losing the second set in just 34 minutes.
"It definitely wasn't one of my best days," she said. "Unfortunately, I didn't feel like it was even me out there playing at some points in the match. It's all I can say. It was one of those days.
"To be honest, you can't control what the other person is going to do. The only things you can control are your serve and your attitude and how hard you try out there. Whether you're really familiar with your opponent or not, your best bet is to focus on what you have to do, what strengths you have and how you can use them to your advantage in a match." The 20-year-old got off to a good start, holding serve in the first game, before a sprinkling of rain -- hopefully it wasn't a sign of things to come, although thunderstorms are in the forecast for Tuesday -- chased them off the court midway through the second game. After a short delay, play resumed and Fichman clearly wasn't the same, losing six of the next seven games to give Halep the first set.
"It's not fun," she said of the rain delay. "I felt like I started off pretty well. Who knows what could have happened if it just carried on without that delay, but it was the same for both of us. She had to stop and so did I, it wasn't just me.
"After the rain delay things turned around a little bit. It's easy to point fingers, it's easy to find excuses but in the end it is what it is. I can't say that swayed it one way or another.² Morning showers delayed play a couple of hours in the morning, pushing all the qualifying matches into the afternoon's stifling, sticky heat.
The top three seeds in the qualifying draw -- Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, Polona Hercog of Slovenia and Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic -- all moved on to the big stage by winning Sunday. Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, once the fourth-ranked player in the world, failed to get into the main draw after losing in three sets to Jie Zheng of China.
Despite Fichman's disappointing result in singles qualifying, she isn't heading back out on the road just yet. Fichman will team up with fellow Canuck Marie-Eve Pelletier in the doubles, with Polish pair Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alicja Rosolska providing the first-round opposition.
"It's really great, especially because I can stay at home," said of playing in Toronto. "Normally I'm in a hotel room. I don't think I've unpacked my suitcase in the last two months. It's fun to be at home, doing this."