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Bouchard, Wozniak give Canada lead over Serbia in Fed Cup

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The Canadian Press
2/8/2014 8:08:06 PM
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MONTREAL -- Canada accomplished everything it hoped for Saturday at the Fed Cup.

Wins by Aleksandra Wozniak and Eugenie Bouchard in World Group II action gives Canada a 2-0 lead over Serbia at Montreal's Claude-Robillard Sports Complex.

Bouchard beat Serbia's Jovana Jaksic in straight sets 6-1, 6-0, after Wozniak beat Serbia's Vesna Dolonc 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, earlier in the day.

"It's what we wanted to accomplish today, and we did it," said Bouchard, who made quick work of her opponent, winning in straight sets in under an hour. "We can be happy with how today went."

To win the first round tie, Canada needs just one more victory on Sunday.

"The job's not over," said Bouchard, who's ranked No. 19 on the WTA Tour. "Anything can happen. We need to be ready for them to come out swinging. I'll be ready. Hopefully we can close it out."

Bouchard will play 117th-ranked Dolonc on Sunday afternoon, with Wozniak facing Jaksic afterwards. Sharon Fichman (ranked No. 112) and Gabriela Dabrowski (No. 224) will team up in doubles against Aleksandra Krunic (No. 152) and Nina Stojanovic (unranked).

If, however, Bouchard beats Dolonc, Canada will win the tie, and Wozniak will not have to take to the court. Instead, the tie will culminate with the doubles contest.

The winning team will have the opportunity to advance from the World Group II to the World Group, which includes the world's eight best teams.

Canada will also have the chance to avenge a 3-2 road loss to Serbia in a 2011 Group II that ultimately relegated the Canadians to a lower division.

Wozniak, currently sitting at No. 274 in the world, was on that Canadian team in 2011, her last Fed Cup prior to injuring her shoulder. Wozniak played in only seven tournaments last year because of the injury, but is preparing her comeback.

On Saturday, she was feeling healthy, and happy to be competing for her country.

"It was a real hill to climb," said Wozniak of her recent injury trouble. "Every game will help me progress, help my game and my confidence. I'm going to continue climbing to get back to the top."

Down 1-5 in the first set, Wozniak made adjustments to her game and began dictating the run of play.

"I stayed concentrated on every single point," said Wozniak, who started going to the net with more confidence midway through the set. "I wanted to set the pace of the game. (Dolonc) was playing well, and I was missing my shots. I held on and took it one point at a time."

Wozniak won the next five games, breaking Dolonc's serve twice in the process, to take a 6-5 lead. In the deciding game, Wozniak completed the comeback when Dolonc hit the net to double fault on set point.

"It was a joke for me to get to 5-1," said Dolonc. "But then she started finding her game. It was getting tighter and tighter. She was feeling more confident, and I was feeling less confident."

In the final set, after Dolonc handily took the second 6-2, Wozniak came to the net on match point, forcing Dolonc to miss the baseline.

"It's something I want to do," said Wozniak, who's won more games (38) representing Canada at the Fed Cup than any other player. "When I have the chance, I set it up, and I want to come to the net and play aggressive.

"I was extremely emotional. I really wanted to celebrate with my team. I play with a lot of emotion when I play for my country. That's why I have so much success in Fed Cups."

Facing a young Serb making her Fed Cup debut, Bouchard's match was certainly less of a nail-biter.

Already leading 5-1 in the first set, Bouchard fired a forehand winner out of Jaksic's reach on set point.

In the second set, Jaksic, ranked No. 149, couldn't do much to slow Bouchard down, winning only six points.

"I was feeling a bit of pressure," said Jaksic. "I put too much on myself. I had to do too much, and in the end I didn't do anything. I was feeling so slow. My legs were like stone. I couldn't move."

Bouchard, who didn't double fault and only made two unforced errors in the second set, won the match when Jaksic sent her final shot long.

"She might have been intimidated," said Bouchard. "I don't know. I like to focus on my own play on the court. But I certainly hope so. That would be a good thing."

The 19-year-old from Montreal created a buzz last month by reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open, the first Canadian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in 20 years. But eventual tournament champion Li Na of China ended Bouchard's impressive run with a straight-sets win.

"I definitely have a lot more confidence now," said Bouchard. "In playing games against the best in the world, I get better every time. And that's my goal, to improve every time."

Eugenie Bouchard (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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