Wozniak, Venus Williams out of Rogers Cup

TORONTO — Aleksandra Wozniak’s quest to win a WTA Tour title in her home country will have to wait another year.

Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada hangs her head as she walks off the court after losing to Alisa Kleybanova of Russia in Rogers Cup tennis action in Toronto on Tuesday.

Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada hangs her head as she walks off the court after losing to Alisa Kleybanova of Russia in Rogers Cup tennis action in Toronto on Tuesday.

TORONTO — Aleksandra Wozniak’s quest to win a WTA Tour title in her home country will have to wait another year.

The Blainville, Que., native dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision to Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova in first-round action Tuesday at the US$2-million Rogers Cup. Wozniak’s loss means that none of the four Canadians in the main draw advanced to the second round.

Wozniak, ranked 40th in the world, came in with the highest hopes of them all. But the 21-year-old was broken three times in the first set, winning just 52 per cent of her first-serve points along the way.

Another service break put Kleybanova ahead 3-2 in the second set. After Wozniak broke to tie the game 3-3, the 36th-ranked Kleybanova returned the favour to go back up a break, sealing Wozniak’s fate.

“She plays a really aggressive ball, and it was hard for me to change the direction like I wanted,” said Wozniak. “I think she just stepped up on the easy, short balls that I was giving her. She was taking advantage.”

No Canadian woman has won the Rogers Cup since Faye Urban beat countrywoman Vicki Berner in the 1969 final.

“It’s disappointing, for sure,” said Wozniak. “This tournament is the one I want to win so bad. Hopefully one day’s it’s gonna be mine.”

Wozniak and Toronto’s Sharon Fichman later fell 1-6, 7-6 (5), 10-4 to Polish duo Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska in first-round women’s doubles action.

Wozniak insists she won’t let her subpar performance in Toronto spoil what has been a strong season to date.

“I have to look ahead,” said Wozniak. “I was (21st) in the world a couple of weeks ago, and there’s so many big tournaments out there I can do really well in. I just have to have a good attitude and keep going forward.”

Earlier Tuesday, unheralded Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko recorded the upset of the tournament thus far, knocking off third-seeded American Venus Williams 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a second-round stunner. Bondarenko, ranked 64th in the world, will now face either Agnes Szavay of Hungary or Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the third round.

“I was playing really good,” said Bondarenko. “The first set, I didn’t know what to do with her power. The rest of the game, I just tried to keep the ball in play.”

Williams arrived in Toronto as one of the favourites, despite not having played here since she was a 17-year-old in 1997. She leaves having never won a match at the Rogers Cup, dropping to 0-3 all-time.

“I was definitely expecting to play well, and to go very far in the tournament,” said Williams, ranked third in the world. “I’ve got a lot of fans here, so it’s disappointing.”

Williams controlled the first set but couldn’t shake a determined Bondarenko, who chased down shot after shot in stifling temperatures at the Rexall Centre. Bondarenko broke Williams three times in the second set and once more in the third, while winning 20-of-28 service points of her own in the deciding set.

Bondarenko initially said it was “just another match,” but quickly changed her tune.

“It’s big because it was against Venus,” said Bondarenko. “I feel that I can win (against) anybody if I can win (against) Venus.”

In evening action, Belgium’s Kim Clijsters cruised past Elena Baltacha of Britain 6-3, 6-4. The 2005 Rogers Cup champion and former world No. 1 looked solid from beginning to end as she plays just her second tournament following more than two years away from the sport.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read