DUBOIS WINS ALL-CANADIAN FINAL AT USTA OF TROY
By Rick Limpert
TROY, Ala., (Oct 14, 2012) – One of Canada’s most famous exports, the legendary rock band Rush, hit the Top 10 in 1981 with one of their most famous songs, “Limelight.” For two Canadians in Troy, Alabama on Sunday, they have ultimate goals of the “top-10″ and “limelight”, but first there was a singles final to play at the USTA Tennis Classic of Troy at the Lundsford Tennis Complex on the campus of Troy University.
Stephanie Dubois and Sharon Fichman took to the court in Troy, with Dubois holding a 2-0 career mark in head-to-head matches and higher world ranking of 167 compared to Fichman at No. 198.
The early stages of the first set featured the players trading breaks of serve until Fichman took command. Mixing in some drop shots with some slice approach shots, she took the first set 6-3.
With Dubois going frequently to the towel to combat the 95 degree temperatures on the court, she gathered some early momentum in the second set to race out to a 3-0 lead. Fichman then found the range and stormed back to take a 4-3 lead. Dubois then fired herself up with some positive vocal instructions to pull ahead and take the second set 6-4.
In an attempt to gather herself, Fichman made a clothing change to start the third set and it worked as she jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Dubois then found form as the skies became overcast and the temperature dropped, kind of like an early fall day in Canada. The rest of the set was back and forth, and after a questionable baseline call that went against Fichman, Dubois went ahead 4-3. Another break of serve allowed Dubois the chance to serve the match out and she did just that, winning on an overhead smash 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“I like playing here, the facility is nice and it’s good to get my first tournament win of the year,” stated Dubois after the match.
Stephanie Dubois is the 2012 champ at the USTA Tennis Classic of Troy.
In Saturday’s doubles final, Angelina Gabueva and Arina Rodionova of Russia defeated the Canadian pair of Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier 6-4, 6-4.
2012 Final Results
Singles: Stephanie Dubois (CAN) def Sharon Fichman (CAN) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Doubles: Gabueva(RUS)/Arina Rodionova (RUS) def Fichman (CAN) Pelletier (CAN) 6-4, 6-4
‘CANADA DAY’ ON SUNDAY AT USTA TENNIS CLASSIC OF TROY
By Rick Limpert
TROY, Ala., (Oct 13, 2012) – On a fall Saturday in Alabama, most of the state is in college football mode as both Alabama and Auburn take to the field for huge football games. But tennis fans in Alabama made a statement on Saturday as well, as a good crowd turned out at the Lundsford Tennis Complex on the campus of Troy University for a pair of semifinals in singles and the doubles championship match.
Tennis fans were treated to a day where veterans of the WTA Tour battled it out on a balmy, breezy day in central Alabama.
Even though Sharon Fichman and Michelle Larcher De Brito had never played each other, they were familiar with each other’s games and were prepared for a long and difficult match.
On this day, it was a story about unforced errors. Larcher De Brito committed double the unforced errors of Fichman during the match and you could tell both players really wanted it.
Fichman ended up taking the match 6-3, 6-4, but she had to hold off a Larcher De Brito rally to earn the win.
“I was trying to mix it up with some higher balls, some flatter balls and make her keep moving her feet,” offered up Fichman, who is currently ranked No. 198 in the world.
Fichman also noticed Larcher De Brito’s energy level drop at the end of the first set and she sensed that was her opportunity.
“I saw she was getting a little frustrated and that was a good sign for me.”
After Fichman put Canada up 1-0 on the board, Stephanie Dubois took the court representing The True North against tournament number two seed Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania.
A close first set went the way of Dubois 6-4, but the second set had a little of everything. Some great shot-making, injury timeouts and an abundance of very long games.
Gallovits-Hall, sensing that she needed to make some changes, became more aggressive to match the shot-making of Dubois.
That kept her in the final set until 5-5 when Dubois raised her game yet another level to close it out 6-4, 7-5.
Dubois rejoiced silently knowing that a match with a fellow Canadian, and one that hasn’t beaten her as of yet is on the docket for tomorrow.
It will be a battle of Canadians on Sunday in Troy, Alabama and I expect to see some “Maple Leafs” flapping in the wind.
In the doubles final, Angelina Gabueva and Arina Rodionova of Russia defeated the Canadian pair of Fichman and Marie-Eve Pelletier 6-4, 6-4.
Aleksandra Wozniak won her first round Family Circle Cup match over Christina McHale on Monday and faces BZS on Althea Gibson Court at 10:00 a.m. That court has seated the loudest fans this week. Who knows? Maybe Woz can get some North American Love from the crowd today. Speaking of love, Tennis East Coast was proud to get a shout out from the very talented Steph Myles on Open Court blog at the Montreal Gazette. Check out that post and the videos HERE.
The grandmother of women’s tennis tournaments begins in just ten days time. The Family Circle Cup is not only the longest running tennis event with the same sponsor, it is also the first women’s professional tennis tournament to have offered $100,000 in prize money.
East Coast tennis fans have been fortunate to have such an event for forty years. So much has changed in that time (Virginia Slims, anyone?), but the Family Circle Cup is still the premier women’s event on the East Coast.
The Family Circle Cup’s stadium on Hilton Head Island was the very first tennis stadium that I ever saw, way back in 1989. Since 2001, the Cup has resided on Daniel Island in the City of Charleston.
The qualifying draw was expanded from 32 to 48 for 2012, with 12 women qualifying for the main draw.
That means a very exciting first weekend, with 24 saturday matches and 12 on Sunday. Also on Saturday, the main draw will be selected from the grounds of the tournament. It will be open to the public and held during a match day, which is unusual and very welcome news to fans.
Agnieszka Radwanska is expected to be the top seed. 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur, Grand Slam Queens Serena and Venus Williams, and former world #2 Vera Zvonareva headline a very competitive main draw. Venus was the recipient of a wild card as was Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Three wild cards remain for the main draw.
On the qualifying side, Americans Sloane Stephens, Jill Craybas, Julia Cohen, Coco Vandeweghe, Jamie Hampton, Varvara Lepchenko and Alison Riske are expected to compete. Riske, who lives in Hilton Head, should be a crowd favorite. We can’t say she’ll be a bigger crowd favorite than 16 year-old Hayley Carter from South Carolina, who nabbed the first qualifying wild card. Five more qualifying wild cards are up for grabs.
You can check out the entire field in this handy police-style photo array compliments of the Family Circle Cup. Click on the Family Circle Cup logo at the top of this article to purchase tickets.
While the mercury topped 102 degrees on Center Court at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, the DC tennis world was heating up even more. This weekend, all eyes are on the DC area as the WTA CitiOpen wraps up in College Park and the Legg Mason Tennis Classic kicks off in upper Northwest. CitiOpen hosts quarterfinal matches today, semis tomorrow and the Sunday finals. Legg Mason Tennis Classic begins with qualifying action on Saturday, which is also Kid’s Day.
In College Park, today’s first quarter went to Shahar Peer, 6-1, 6-2 over Italy’s Alberta Brianti in a quick one. She will now face the winner of the Tamira Paszek/Stephanie Dubois match in a semifinal tomorrow.
Just concluded at CitiOpen Center Court at this moment is Irina Falconi’s big victory over Virginie Razzano, 6-4, 6-2. She took a fall in the 2nd set, but shook it off, like the mighty mite that she has proven herself to be. Later action includes Paszek/Dubois and the nightcap will be Petrova/Jovanovski, where the winner will face Falconi.
Today’s Legg Mason draw ceremony was a lavish affair with a catered lunch for DC schoolkids treated by the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation. DC Mayor Vince Gray, and former Washington Senators announcer Charlie Brotman, the real Dean of the District, assisted with the picks. Victor Troicki and Radek Stepanek dined, drew and dashed off to practice. Troicki, who is the spitting image of Emmy winner Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), was in a hustle to practice with Manchester United superstars Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Bidic. He was joined by Fernando Gonzalez and James Blake in the hit. The big news at the draw was the announcement that Arlington’s own Dennis Kudla and Ragin’ Cajun Ryan Harrison were granted the two remaining wild cards at Legg Mason, meaning that they will not have sweat it out tomorrow as they were scheduled to play as qualifiers.
CitiOpen has been a fun ride so far, but now it’s on to the business half of the tournament in the torrid humid weather that would put Houston or New Orleans to shame.
Nadia Petrova, who hasn’t broken a sweat or lost a set, has a draw that must make the World #32 Russian feel like Lou Ferrigno. She faces Bonita Jovanovski tomorrow and would face Irina Falconi or Virginie Razzano in the Saturday Semis.
Top seed Shahar Peer’s half of the draw includes her quarter-final match with Alberta Brianti and she would face either Stephanie Dubois or Tamira Paszek in her semi.
Take it to the bank: Petrova will beat Peer on Sunday, if they both make it to the last day of the carnival. To get there, Peer’s biggest obstacle would be Tamira Paszek (#42), while Peppermint Patti Nads Petrova’s would be…? Falconi is ranked #102, Razzano is #81, and Jovanovski is at #56.
On July 14, 2011, we showed our rookie colors by predicting the following winners: Peer, Chakvetadze, Dokic, Hercog and long shots Razzano and Oudin. In our high-powered legal defense, Hercog and Chakvetadze were scheduled but no-shows. We don’t even believe Petrova was on the College Park public’s Wild Card radar at that time. Dokic took ill (unforeseen), Oudin got bested by Paszek, and Razzano remains in contention.
For the sake of continuity, Peer and Razzano stay on the list. But, we must now begrudgingly respect the prediction of ThisWeekInTennis.com of Tamira Paszek, and add the one and only Petrova to our list to win the whole darn thing. The very likeable Dubois has played brilliantly, but Tamira Paszek may prove to be the reason to pack her bags and head to Vancouver.
Semis: Peer v. Paszek, Petrova v. Razzano
Final: Peer v. Petrova (Patti in 3)
We can hardly wait to eat these words and wash them down with a fine Austrian beer and a bottle of Bordeaux.
Tennis Maryland was granted another interview yesterday. This time, we asked to speak to Stephanie Dubois, Québec’s #1 WTA player. Why Stephanie Dubois? First of all, we must disclose that as Maryland is our overwhelmingly favorite state, Québec is our overwhelmingly favorite province. Where else can you drive 7-10 hours from the Mid-Atlantic and feel like you’ve taken a trans-continental flight? Don’t get us started pining for the food, the constant stream of festivals, the language and the culture.
Getting back to Dubois: She had just beaten one of the top seeds in the tournament, Sonia Mirza. We should also mention that CitiOpen in College Park featured three players from Canada and even offers poutine for sale. This was starting to feel like Rogers Cup in Montreal. So, why NOT Stephanie Dubois? TM tried to interview in French, but it became clear that, in the interest of transcript accuracy, our Franglais was not going to cut it.
TM: First, I must ask you. You are no stranger to Sonia Mirza, are you? You’ve seen her before, haven’t you?
SD: Ah, yes. We met at the Australian Open this year and she won the match. And I won in the finals against her in Vancouver a couple of years ago (2009).
TM: Is this your first visit to the Washington area?
SD: No. I played at Washington in two different $75,000 Challengers events in the past.
TM: Have you had a chance to visit downtown DC?
SD: I did get to go to the White House and all of the other sight-seeing when I was here three years ago. But this time, no, I have been too busy and I am staying in College Park.
TM: You beat Kim Clijsters at the Rogers Cup in 2006, didn’t you?
SD: Yes. Well, actually, Kim retired. But it was my first third round ever at a major event, and it was the Rogers Cup.
TM: On behalf of the good people at wtaQuebec.com, I wanted
to ask you about Saguenay.
SD: I love Saguenay! It was a great opportunity with great people.
TM: Were you supported as a young Québecois player by Tennis
SD: Very much. From youth tennis, to the last seven years, I am
grateful for them. They helped me out with financial support. I’ve
had a coach on the road for four or five years now, and they are not free.
TM: When did you discover an interest in tennis? Who played with
SD: My sister and brother played with my dad at a school near my house in Laval. I wanted to join in and I loved it right away. I was 4 or 5 at the time.
TM: What do you think of Quickstart tennis for the kids?
SD: You know, I don’t know too much about it. But it sounds like a nice idea and it looks like they have fun.
TM: What was your greatest victory on the courts thus far?
SD: My greatest win was against Kim Clisters (in 2006), even though she was forced to retire. It gave me my first third round, and here I was at Rogers Cup signing autographs for fans. When I was a kid, I used to get autographs from stars like Michael Chang at Rogers. Now, fans are asking for my autograph! It was a night match on Stadium Court in Montreal and it was a great moment for me.
I almost beat the #8 player in the world at the time, Anna Chakvetadze. At Wimbledon (2008). That was great. But every time you win is the greatest.
TM: Do you prefer your Rogers Cup to be held in Montreal or Toronto?
SD: I don’t know. Both of them. They’re both so different, but both are so well-organized. But of course, I would rather play in Montreal.
TM: What is on your Ipod?
SD: Dance music mostly. Some Coldplay. Mostly, something I can move to.
TM: Who’s your favorite sports team?
SD: Canadiens! And the Nordiques, if they ever return. Then I will have two teams again. I don’t follow many sports, because I am always busy, but I love Canadiens hockey.
TM: Thank you, Stephanie. I wish you bonne chance on Thursday.
SD: Thank you. And thank you before for offering to interview me in French. That was very nice.