Here is our report on the matches that we saw on the first day of qualifying at Toronto.
(1) Laura Granville (USA) def. Adriana Serra-Zanetti (ITA) 6-2, 6-2
None of us really went to see this match, except for at the beginning. However, Adriana's rainbow-covered shirt lightened up the day.
(24) Galina Voskoboeva (RUS) def. Maureen Drake (CAN) 6-2, 7-6(4)
Maureen was playing really streaky in this match, and hitting a lot of balls long, thus giving away easy points to Galina. Much to our surprise, Galina was not moonballing like she did against Tania Rice in Montreal (Cdpoulin1). In the second set, Galina led 6-2 4-3, and 6-2 5-4, but then fell to 6-2 5-6. Maureen played like she didn't really care if she won or not, and actually seemed quite content immediately after her loss. I guess this means that she will focus on doubles (she was finding a partner) and really doesn't care too much any more about singles. Galina really just had to play a bit aggressively and wait for Maureen to hit a double fault or unforced error and the game was hers.
(2) Lucie Safarova (CZE) def. (WC) Jillian O'Neill (CAN) 6-0, 6-4
In a blink of an eye, Lucie led 6-0. Jillian hit some really hard top-notch serves (like 175km/h) to make the match really close. However, after 4-4, Lucie raised the level of her game and just took the match handily.
Saori Obata (JPN) def. (15) Tatiana Panova (RUS) 6-2, 6-2
We did not see this match. However, we did see Panova in practice, and she did seem a bit heavier than before (ok....a lot heavier). But maybe its because of her height!
(3) Maria Diaz-Oliva (ARG) def. (WC) Ekaterina Shulaeva (CAN) 7-5, 6-1
This was a typical match for a stronger player against a lower one. Ekaterina gave a really good match in the first set, but Diaz-Oliva stormed away in the second set.
Silvija Talaja (CRO) def. (25) Cara Black (ZIM) 7-5, 7-5
The ball boys seemed quite excited about this match, constantly referring to it as "Croatia vs. Zimbabwe". We were not as enthused as they were, though the last game had Talaja taking the game at love on her serve to take the match. Good luck Cara in doubles.
(4) Antonella Serra-Zanetti (ITA) def. Maja Matevzic (SLO) 6-1, 6-0
Antonella played a really aggressive game against Maja and just really overpowered her. Maja was far from her old form, and in fact when asked by Randy H as to whether or not her injury was still hurting her, Maja admitted it was still giving her problems. Well played by Antonella though. Hopefully Maja will return to her old form sometime soon.
(13) Maria Sanchez-Lorenzo (ESP) def. Els Callens (BEL) 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4
As both of these players are really in a slump and not playing well this year, we knew this match would be a three setter. Maria and Els had their match delayed a bit due to a player sickness on their court (see below), so Maria watched some of Antonella's thrashing of Maja while Els sat in her golf-cart with another short-haired female friend. We were quite pleased that Maria won the match (well some of us) (I wanted a picture of Maria), although we all feel sorry for Els
(5) Alina Jidkova (RUS) vs. Svetlana Krivencheva (BUL)
This was some interesting match. Alina really overpowered Svetlana, who seemed to be content on just keeping the ball in play (trying to at least). Jidkova easily won the first set. In the second, while up 6-1 5-2, Alina started feeling very ill, which affected her play tremendously. This got Svetlana back into the match, and helped her win four games in one set (which shocked us all). Alina was able to close out the match, but after shaking hands and sitting down, she started to throw up and had to have medical assistance (I saw ice packs put against her neck). She seemed to be in a lot of pain. This resulted in the delay of the Sanchez-Lorenzo / Callens match. However, Alina kept drinking fluids and was driven away. She then was seen later feeling quite better. Perhaps it was heat exhaustion (although some of us think she could have been being sick from seeing Svetlana's awful-coloured and out-dated tennis outfit). Toronto 2003 was much better, it was a mix of fuscia and blue flowers. This time it was beige with a high-waist black skirt and her trusty old headband over a cap. Thankfully Jidkova faced a player that was clearly not in her level. Svetlana spoke after the match saying that she "really couldn't do anything as Jidkova was playing a solid game" and then graciously gave an autograph. An interesting match with interesting players. Well done to both. Keep up the good work.
(22) Shenay Perry (USA) def. Valerie Tetreault (CAN) 6-3, 6-3
Cdpoulin1 only saw the second set of this match and felt that until 3-3, Valerie did a pretty good job of incorporating some passing shots in her play. As you all know, Perry's serve is really tough to return and Val did a great job with trying to do this, and even got a few break points. Sadly, she couldn't convert any of them and then got broke at 5-3 and lost the match.
Olena Antypina (UKR) def. (6) Kristina Brandi (PUR) 6-0, 2-3 ret.
Unfortunately, we did not see this match. I only saw the introduction and both looked quite healthy. Obviously, with the scoreline, it is clear that something was not right with Kristina.
Maria Emilia Salerni (ARG) def. (18) Stephanie Foretz (FRA) 7-6(3), 6-2
No body saw this match, but we were all happy that Pitu won. Stephanie is quite good looking though but without her glasses.
(8) Jie Zheng (CHN) def. Neha Uberoi (USA) 6-1, 1-6, 6-2
This was a great match. Both players were hitting hard and grunting loud. After losing the first set really easily, Neha bounced back. The third set was full of many great shots, which attracted one of the largest crowds on the grounds during the time that the match was played. Well done to both girls.
Martina Muller (GER) def. (17) Nicole Pratt (AUS) 6-0, 3-6, 6-4
I only saw the beginning of this match, and both players really did not have weapons, but Muller was able to play well enough to beat Nicole so easily. It is really great to see that Muller is back to her level and out of her slump, which saw her have stints in 10ks. A great win for Muller, well done Martina.
(9) Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) def. Melanie Gloria (CAN) 6-1, 6-1
We saw this match at 4-1. Melanie was hitting some ok groundstrokes but then came up with many unforced errors that gave away easy points to Maria Elena. Maria Elena was playing quite well and was very motivated, often shouting "Cmon" and some Italian phrases. In the second set, it looked like Melanie was gonna turn the match around, after she broke Maria Elena's serve in the first game. However, Maria Elena quickly rebounded and started to take control of the match and steamrolled to victory. Melanie appeared to be nursing an injury, as she often put slow, second-serve like serves on her first serve (and was not serving well in practice at all). Looked like an abdominal injury.
(20) Hana Sromova (CZE) def. Soledad Esperon (ARG) 6-2, 6-4
I like Sromova, but I was so happy to have seen Soledad play. A good looking girl, Cdpoulin1 and I fell in love with Soledad as she was really a feisty player who had some great shots. The reason for her loss was that she was not consistent and aggressive enough and made some really easy unforced errors. However, she does have the arsenal to be a good player some day. Perhaps this is because she is not used to playing at this level, but this girl certainly has some potential. Sromova really ran down Soledad's points and forced Soledad to make another play, which eventually resulted in a Soledad unforced error. We kind of were rootin for Soledad, but I'm really glad I saw her, I will definitely be rooting for her in the future.
Additional Note from Cdpoulin1
: Sromova's game, especially the forehand, was "weird". She was constantly slapping it and not really following through with the shot. She had a really awkward motion. Her extensive use of drop shots became a bit tiresome at times. I can't b
elieve Marie-Eve lost 6-2 6-3 to her earlier this year.
(10) Jamea Jackson (USA) def. Kelly Liggan (IRL) 6-4, 6-4
First, let's talk about how Jamea was looking. She had a extensive bandage along her right thigh, as well as a yellow tendinitis-protecting bracelet on her left knee (that CD joked was her Live Strong knee bracelet). Kelly did her best to stay in the match. After trailing 4-1 in the first set, Kelly grunted loud and came back with some great shots (mostly backhands down the line) to tie the match up at 4-4. Being down 4-5, Kelly had a chance to get the match at 5-5, but faltered and lost 6-4. A good match, but Kelly's forehand prevented her from winning the match. Well done to both players.
(21) Selima Sfar (TUN) def. Rita Grande (ITA) 7-6(6), 6-4
Selima served really well in this match. She was serve and volleying a lot. Good match. Rita was dressed in furious-red and was her old-self (yelling at times). (Cdpoulin1)
(11) Stephanie Cohen-Aloro (FRA) def. (WC) Heidi El-Tabakh (CAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
What a match. Heidi was really playing well as she started the match, capitalizing on Stephanie's lacklustre play. Stephanie appeared to be quite on the heavy side. Heidi really played some great shots, leading 6-4 4-0. However, Stephanie (in Cdpoulin's words "the pink elephant") won a double bagel after that (winning the next 12 games). This was sad, as Heidi was points away from being closer to winning the match and even lost her serve after holding a 40-0 lead.
Oh well, at least Heidi knows that she can compete with players ranked well above her ranking. We're glad to have you in Canada Heidi, you have great promise are very good looking too! You may have choked this one, but there are more opportunties to come for you to breakthrough in the future!
(23) Shikha Uberoi (IND) def. Carly Gullickson (USA) 6-1, 7-5
We were surprised that this result was the way it was as Carly easily beat Shikha in Quebec City. As none of this saw this match, we can only assume that Shikha played really well.
(12) Rika Fujiwara (JPN) def. (WC) Sharon Fichman (CAN) 6-0, 6-1
Sharon really was overpowered by the more experienced Rika, but had some good rallies and some passing shots and winners. Rika just really was able to wrap up the points and was able to combat Sharon's use of moonballing. Sharon certainly has great potential, but unfortunately had a tough matchup. If she had faced Svetlana Krivencheva, she would have probably won.
Elena Vesnina (RUS) def. (14) Emmanuelle Gagliardi (SUI) 6-2, 6-2
We did not see this match in its entirety, but while seeing Emmanuelle serve and practice, it did not appear that she was serving quite well. She was struggling and this was not good, as Vesnina played well and had a solid game.
Liga Dekmeijere practiced with some girl we did not know. Most of the Canadian players practiced. Dubois who rallied with Ivanovic and Dulko. Sugiyama rallied with Asagoe and then later with Mauresmo (who had to leave early and had to ice her knee as she aggravated it while practicing). Dally Randriantefy rallied, as did Linetskaya who lost some weight (Cdpoulin1). Linetskaya played with Emmanuelle, which didn't help Emmanuelle much. Golovin rallied with Safina too. Neha and Shikha rallied together and Ai rallied with Na Li. Dechy rallied with Mauresmo and then against Ivanovic.
Polish update (Polishprodigy):
I was so glad to see Marta Domachowska rally on a court against Maria Vento-Kabchi. Marta was playing extremely well, hitting the ball very hard. In fact, after their hitting session, Vento-Kabchi told Marta "well done, you were hitting all winners". I spoke to Marta after and she was really pleasant and so nice. I can't wait to see her in the main draw, although she drew the toughest quarter of the draw. Although I was nervous when the draw ceremony went on, after seeing Marta practice, I really think she can beat Dulko or at least make the match close. I am quite excited about this possibility.
Quebecois Update (Cdpoulin1):
A lot of Quebec players played. Stephanie was great as usual. I talked to her and she will be practicing with Ivanovic again tomorrow again. She was really nice, as usual.
Some inside gossip: After speaking with the great Helen Kelesi, Randy H uncovered some inside information that Ruano-Pascual was still playing in LA in the doubles semi-finals. We saw Helen rally with Kavitha Krishnamurthy and she then told us that Kavitha's match was postponed due to Virginia stating that she was still very much interested in playing singles qualifying at Toronto.