PARIS — For the first time in 17 years, the fourth round of the French Open women’s draw will have some Canadian flavour.
Aleksandra Wozniak continued her magical French Open run Saturday, earning a hard-fought 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain in third-round action.
The 21-year-old from Blainville, Que., is the first Canadian woman to survive into the second week at the French Open since Patricia Hy-Boulais in 1992. Wozniak is also the first Canadian to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam event since Maureen Drake qualified for the round of 16 at the 1999 Australian Open.
“That’s awesome for Canada and I hope to keep going,” said Wozniak, who was eliminated in the third round at last year’s event.
“I’m definitely enjoying the way I’m playing. I’m really excited.”
Wozniak faced her toughest challenge to date against Dominguez Lino, who broke the Canadian’s serve five times in the second set to even the match on a blustery day at Roland Garros. Wozniak stormed back in the deciding set, breaking her 28-year-old opponent three times — giving her eight break points for the match.
Wozniak’s opponent in the round of 16 will be second-seeded Serena Williams, who rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Wozniak beat Williams in their only previous meeting last July at the Bank of the West Classic, when Wozniak took a 6-2, 3-1 lead before Williams was forced to retire with a knee injury. Wozniak went on to beat Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-3 in the final, making her the first Canadian to win a WTA Tour event in 20 years.
Though Williams looks as healthy as ever, Wozniak said she isn’t intimidated at the prospect of facing the No. 2 player in the world.
“I look like I have a chance with anybody,” said Wozniak. “Almost every tournament I’m playing a top-20 or top-10 player. I’m definitely going into that match confident. I just need to focus on doing things well. This is where I belong, with the best players in the world. I feel it’s my place.”