“Oh Canada”

Posted on 27. May, 2009 by Stephen Birman in ATP

The French Open is underway and Canada has already made an impressive showing, by Tennis Canada standards. Now, you thought I would be rhyming off the names of Federer and Rafa but since we know they will be the topic of conversation deep into next week, why not give some props to Canada for an impressive early showing.

It starts in qualifying, where Thornhill native and world number 279, Peter Polansky managed to make his way through 3 rounds of qualifying and advance to the main draw in Paris. This is a very impressive showing capped by a final round qualifying victor over Beligum’s Olivier Rochus who was once upon a time a top 50 player. Polansky starts off tomorrow with a potentially winnable match against world number 69 Philip Petzschner of Germany. Petzchner is 2-7 on the year and 0-2 during the clay court season. While the Canuck comes in hot, it should be noted that he has never won a main draw ATP level match let alone a match at Roland Garros where Canadians are typically terrible. But Polansky has shown potential on this surface. In Davis Cup action last year, he took Chilean star Fernando Gonzales to a very close 4 sets, before falling in defeat. And his 3 qualifying wins were all in straight sets and against worthy opponents in Fernando Vincente of Span, Roko Karanusic of Croatia and Rochus. Look for Polansky to make Canadians proud and advance to round 2.

Meanwhile, the frenchwoman Alexander Wozniak was already doing Canada proud when she entered the slam as the 24th seed and became the first native of Quebec to ever enter Roland Garros as a seeded player. Wozniak who suprised the tennis world with a big tournament victory at the Bank of West Classic in California last summer has quietly moved up the tennis ladder and her consistent grinding type game may play well in Paris where she reached the third round last year in her best slam performance. Today she moved through to the second round with a 3 set victory over Monica Nicalescu of Romania. Moreover, Wozniak has an open draw since the seeded player in her bracket Flavio Pennetta of Italy took a first round loss. She is a couple of victories over unseeded players (next up she has a Croatian qualifier that you have never heard of) away from a round of 16 performance (which would be a best ever at a Slam for her, but let’s not get a head of ourselves) and a potential match-up with the beatable Serena Williams. Serena has been mediocre this year, is typically bad on clay and boy would that be something if the Woz could hit the quarters at a slam.

While Peter Po and the Woz perform, Frank Dancevic came up short again. I know you are shocked. He was a first round qualifyiing loser, and really didn’t make any effort during this clay court seasons. He doesn’t seem to take the clay seriously which is a shame for a player who was supposed to be Canada’s next (or first) thing. Next up he has a lot of points to defend on grass at the Surbiton Challenger, Wimbledon and the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.

Ok, so there you have it. In other news both Federer and Nadal have moved through to the second round in straight sets. I know you are shocked.

Look for more French Open coverage in the coming days.

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One Response to ““Oh Canada””

  1. Evie Shulman

    27. May, 2009

    Nice to see the Canadians get some exposure. Now lets see how they stack up.

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