Rogers Cup chaos as stars crash out


Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:41

Kim Clijsters fairytale return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour continued in Canada on Wednesday when the former world No.1 shocked world No.9 Victoria Azarenka on a day of surprises at the Rogers Cup.

Azarenka wasnt the only big name heading for the airport as six seeds crashed out including top seed Dinara Safina, eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki and former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic.

But it was the popular Belgian Clijsters, enjoying an incredible return to the tour after becoming a mother 18 months ago, who was the big story once more.

After making the last eight at her first tournament back in Cincinnati last week, she took out Azarenka 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 on Wednesday to set up a meeting with Jelena Jankovic.

“Even after being up in that second set and losing it, I just focused on what got me there, what got me leading in the match,” Clijsters said.

“I just wanted to keep doing whatever was working in the third set. Victoria stepped it up today and at times I was playing too defensively; it was up to me to take those first chances, try to serve and return well, and try to look for those angles from the beginning. I’m very happy to win today.”

While Clijsters victory perhaps attracted the most attention, Safinas defeat was the most surprising result of the day as she crumbled against Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai.

Safina was on course for a routine victory after taking the first set but lost serve three times in set two and another four times in the decider as the world No.39 came away with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win.

“I’m very happy, Rezai said It’s the first time I’ve beaten a No.1. I took revenge for the French Open she beat me at home, and I really wanted to win this match. Today is a really big step for me.”

The shocks kept coming and another superstar to throw away a healthy lead was No.11 seed Ivanovic who led qualifier Lucie Safarova 6-3, 5-3 before losing 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Chinas Zheng Jie was another unseeded player to deliver an upset when she beat eighth seed Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3, while Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano beat 12th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-1 and Russian powerhouse Alisa Kleybanova edged out 16th seed Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 in the decider.

There were a handful of predictable results, however, as second seed Serena Williams, fourth seed Elena Dementieva, fifth seed Jankovic and seventh seed Vera Zvonareva all went through to the last 16.

Maria Sharapova also progressed, despite hitting 17 double faults on her way to a 6-3, 7-6(5) success over Sybille Bammer.

“I’m actually having a competition with myself to see how many errors and double faults I can make and still win the match in two sets. It’s interesting,” Sharapova joked afterwards.

“The more I was out there today, the worse I was playing. I’m not sure if it was her game or something else, but I certainly need to step it up. But it’s great to win playing like that.”

Thursday order of play
Stadium, 11am start
1. Shahar Peer vs. Elena Dementieva
2. Alona Bondarenko vs. Serena Williams (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Kateryna Bondarenko vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
4. Maria Sharapova vs. Vera Zvonareva (NB 19.30hrs)
5. Kim Clijsters vs. Jelena Jankovic


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.