August 9, 2012
Wozniak knocks off Jankovic at Rogers Cup
By BRIAN DALY, QMI Agency
MONTREAL - Aleksandra Wozniak is healthy for the first time in two years and she has shown it by making her deepest-ever run at the $2.168-million Rogers Cup.
Former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic fought off a wonky back but wasn't able to handle Wozniak's blazing groundstrokes and strong serve that paced the Canadian to a 6-2, 6-3 win Thursday in the drizzle at Uniprix Stadium.
Wozniak, a 24-year-old from Blainville, Que., advanced to the round of 16 for the first time in nine draw appearances at the Rogers Cup.
It was also Wozniak's first victory against Jankovic in five tries.
"It's about time," said Wozniak, whose last match against Jankovic was a three-set loss at Wimbledon two years ago.
"I really wanted to win this because ... I have lost tough matches against her.
"I really had to concentrate. I had big matches against her but I hadn't been able to win."
Wozniak got the early jump on Jankovic, breaking the world No. 18 player three times in the first set.
Jankovic wasn't sharp for most of the set, double-faulting five times. At one point she smashed the ball away in frustration after a forehand shot sailed long to lose the second game.
The eighth game included the nicest shot of the set, with Wozniak punishing the Serb for coming to the net by blasting a forehand right past her for a winner.
The following game ended with Jankovic sending a forehand wide to give Wozniak the set.
Both women held serve in the first two games of the second set before Wozniak made the decisive break in the fourth game.
Wozniak jumped ahead 15-40 after a lengthy rally ended with the Canadian blasting a backhand winner.
Jankovic then dumped a return into the net to fall behind three games to one.
Wozniak held serve in the fifth game and Jankovic's body began to give out in the sixth. The Serb called in a trainer and was sprawling at the side of the court while getting worked on.
Jankovic came back strong after a 10-minute injury break, keeping Wozniak on her heels with powerful strokes during a marathon game that included eight deuces.
Jankovic blasted an ace to get her final advantage on her way to winning the epic game to pull to within 4-2.
The seventh game also went to deuce, with Wozniak serving, but this time she came out on top and pushed Jankovic to the brink.
Jankovic, showing renewed vigour after the earlier injury break, held serve in the eighth game but bowed out in the following game.
Wozniak goes on to play Christina McHale of the United States, who beat Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.
Wozniak is trying to regain the form that saw her ranked as high as No. 21 on the tour in 2009 before wrist tendonitis cut short her 2010 season and hampered her entire 2011 campaign.
Canadian phenom Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., had to wait through a three-hour rain delay before beginning her match against world No. 11 Li Na of China.
The 18-year-old from Westmount, Que., battled mightily before bowing out 6-4, 6-4.
Bouchard, the junior Wimbledon winner this year, elicited several roars with well-placed passing shots in the first set, but the world No. 237 player had difficulty handling the more experienced Li's power and placement.
Li broke Bouchard twice in the set, scoring on several deep and often unhittable baseline shots.
The Chinese star was content to stay on the baseline for most of the match and wait for Bouchard to make mistakes.
Bouchard missed two overhead smashes at the net, including a costly one at match point, and told reporters that she saw up close what it will take to beat the best in the world. The up-and-coming Canadian maintained that the match was winnable but that she wasn't aggressive enough against the accurate and hard-hitting 30-year-old Li.
"It's definitely a different level," said Bouchard. "Li Na plays all her balls deep and hard and she put a lot of pressure on me, so it's more difficult to play. But I'll learn."
Bouchard's loss ends a 20-match winning streak against junior and WTA opponents. The teenager had advanced on Wednesday by upsetting 56th-ranked Shahar Peer of Israel.
Rain postponed a total of four second-round singles matches, including the centre-court evening showdown between World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and unseeded Austrian Tamira Pazek. The match was tied at three games apiece in the first set before it was put off until Friday afternoon.
The clouds parted just long enough for tournament No. 2 seed Agneiszka Radwanska of Poland to advance past German Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in a two-hour, 12-minute marathon.
American Varvara Lepchenko also had time for a 6-4, 6-4 win over Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.
In earlier matches, Italian Roberta Vinci advanced in a rout. Vinci took just 44 minutes to dispatch 11th-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-0, 6-0. Ivanovic barely showed any effort, recording just 21 total points.
It was the first time that Ivanovic, the 2009 Rogers Cup champion, failed to complete a match without winning a game.
"I can't remember last time I had a match like this, you know, maybe not since I was junior," Ivanovic told reporters afterward.
She said the poor showing was surprising since she had been "hitting the ball nicely" in practice.
Vinci will face the winner between Germany's Angelique Kerber and fifth-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova, whose evening match was twice delayed by rain on Thursday.
Before the rain came down, France's Maria Bartoli defeated China's Shuai Peng 6-1, 6-3.
Bartoli, the No. 9 seed, moves on to face Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the round of 16.
Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro also upended No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.