Venus Williams, team Bouchard move on to second round at Rogers Cup
American Venus Williams advanced to the second round of the Rogers Cup after a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Caroline Dolehide on Monday.
The 14th-ranked Williams made quick work of her countrymate in the second set after coming from behind to win a back-and-forth first set.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion will now face Sorana Cristea (No. 54) or Monica Niculescu (No. 69) in the second round.
It looked like an upset was in the cards in the early going of the all-American matchup.
The 19-year-old Dolehide (No. 124), who was making her Rogers Cup debut, jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first set after breaking Williams’ serve.
Dolehide, one of just two teenagers in the main draw, used her heavy service game and aggressive play to challenge Williams on every point. She finished the match with three aces. Williams had none.
But the 38-year-old veteran broke Dolehide back to take a 4-3 lead, and she did it again in the deciding game of the first set.
Dolehide, one of 12 qualifiers in the main draw, just couldn’t maintain the same pace in the second set, as Williams only lost 11 points on her way to victory.
Earlier Monday, Eugenie Bouchard and partner Sloane Stephens upset the fifth-seeded duo of Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (6) in first-round doubles action.
“The reason I played doubles was to get more games under my belt,” said Bouchard. “It’s better than just a normal practice. I really worked on my service game, my volleys, my return. It can help with my singles game.”
“Every victory can give you confidence.”
Bouchard of nearby Westmount, Que., has only played in six doubles matches this season, including three with the American Stephens.
“We started playing doubles together in Washington last year,” said Bouchard of her partnership with Stephens.
“We have a lot of fun on the court. We laugh a lot. We’re trying our best, obviously, but we’re also really relaxed. It’s good for both of our games.”
Meanwhile, Dabrowski of Ottawa is the No. 9-ranked doubles player in the world. She is coming off a semifinals appearance at Wimbledon last month.
In singles play, 29-year-old Julia Goerges of Germany avoided an early loss at the Rogers Cup with a 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Timea Babos of Hungary.
It took the 10th-ranked Goerges nearly two-and-a-half hours to complete the three-set comeback against the unseeded 25-year-old.
Goerges had 17 aces and five double faults to Babos’ eight and one, respectively.
Goerges will face qualifier Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in the second round.
In other women’s singles action, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia defeated Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia cruised past Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-1, 6-0.
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