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Montréal Monday: Wozniak Eyes Upset

Sloane Stephens faces a tricky start to her Rogers Cup campaign, taking on local girl and 2012 quarterfinalist Aleksandra Wozniak.

Published August 04, 2014 12:10

Montréal Monday: Wozniak Eyes Upset
Aleksandra Wozniak

MONTRÉAL, Canada - Sloane Stephens looks to arrest a worrying run of results when she takes on local girl Aleksandra Wozniak in the first round of the Rogers Cup.

Monday, First Round

Central
Sloane Stephens (USA #20) vs. [WC] Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN #97)
Head-to-head:
Stephens leads 2-1
It is fair to say that 2014 has not exactly gone to plan for Sloane Stephens. Things started out brightly enough for the WTA Rising Star, with a new coach and a solid showing at the Australian Open. However, since then she has struggled to get the most of her undoubted talent, suffering a number of puzzling losses.

The most recent of these came last week in Washington, where she fell away spectacularly in the final set against Christina McHale. Stephens has no gimme first up in Montréal, either, having been paired with home favorite Aleksandra Wozniak.

As a young girl, every other summer Wozniak would make the journey from her family home in Blainville, Montréal to the Stade Uniprix to watch her idol, Monica Seles. After graduating from spectator to participator, Wozniak's appearances in front of her home culminated in early round exits until 2012 when she became the first Canadian to reach the Rogers Cup quarterfinals in 20 years.

Banque Nationale
[15] Lucie Safarova (CZE #17) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU #36)
Head-to-head: Safarova leads 3-1
At the start of last year's Rogers Cup, Sorana Cirstea would not have been among many people's picks for potential finalists. However, she negotiated a treacherous bottom half of the draw, accounting for two former No.1s and two Grand Slam champions along the way, to make believers of even the most doubting of Thomases.

The 620 points gained from this runner-up finish propelled the Romanian to a career-high No.21 in the rankings. Now Cirstea is charged with defending them, knowing that an early exit would send her plummeting out of the Top 50.  

Her first round opponent is another of the WTA's more enigmatic performers, Lucie Safarova, who followed up her Wimbledon heroics with an opening round loss in Washington to Kristina Mladenovic. Safarova has won three of the pair's four meetings, the most recent of which came in Charleston last spring.  

Stat to watch: Last September, Wozniak was down at No.377 in the rankings. On Monday, she broke back into the Top 100.

Also on court...
Following Cirstea and Safarova on court will be Flavia Pennetta, who begins against qualifier Yulia Putintseva, while fellow seeds Sara Errani and Dominika Cibulkova take on Sabine Lisicki and Françoise Abanda, respectively.

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