MONTRÉAL, Canada - Night 1 of the Rogers Cup saw a couple of razor-thin wins, with Aleksandra Wozniak and Ksenia Pervak both lifting their games when it mattered most to move into the second round of the Premier stop.
With the support of her home crowd firmly behind her, Canadian No.1 Wozniak pulled off a surprise, upsetting Daniela Hantuchova on center court, 75 76(5). She came from 4-2 down to take the first set and kept recovering from missed opportunities to close out the second set in a tie-break, having served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 - and even holding two match points in the 6-5 game.
"I'm happy to be done today," Wozniak said. "It was my first match here after the Olympics, a change of surface, finding your rhythm and your timing.
"It kind of hurt a bit not to take the match points before the tie-break, but it's not over until it's over. I came back. I knew it was very important to finish it in a tie-break, so I was really focused on one point at a time and I'm happy I made it.
"Tomorrow it's just doubles and I'll be preparing for the next round too."
Their only previous meeting was a significant one - when Wozniak was defending her Premier-level triumph in Stanford three years ago, Hantuchova was the one who knocked her out, in a marathon that lasted over two hours.
"Daniela is such a good player. You have to play really well to win," Wozniak said. "The crowd gave me so much energy today - it's really nice to play at home. I'm going to take the confidence from today into the next round.
"We're so lucky to have this big tournament here, and also Québec City later at the end of the season. We travel 10 months out of the year and to play at home and have the crowd help you surpass yourself is so great. It gives you some motivation and energy when you need to finish a match off, like tonight.
"It's just wonderful to have such a nice crowd."
Next up for Wozniak is No.13 seed Jelena Jankovic. Jankovic has beaten Wozniak in all four previous meetings, though the former No.1 has fallen on hard times lately - she has lost her opening match at 11 of her last 15 events.
Pervak saved set point in the first set tie-break and rallied from 5-3 down in the second to beat Georgian qualifier Anna Tatishvili, 76(6) 76(4). It was a welcome return to winning for the Kazakh, who had an unfortunate end to her last tournament - as the top seed in Baku, she was forced to retire from her first round match due to heat illness and was taken off court in a stretcher.