Canada's Wozniak out of Indian Wells after fourth-round loss to Li Na
Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014 12:01 am
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - The last two Canadian women exited the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, with Eugenie Bouchard and Aleksandra Wozniak both suffering fourth-round defeats.
Two forehand errors spelled the end for Montreal's Bouchard, who lost to sixth-seed Simona Halep of Romania 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
Australian Open winner and top seed Li Na defeated Wozniak of Blainville, Que., 6-1, 6-4, with the Canadian saving ten match points. Li double-faulted on four of the potential match-winners in a dramatic concluding game.
Wozniak, ranked 241 after missing play over the past 18 months due to a shoulder injury, went down fighting in just over 90 minutes as a return sailed long over the baseline.
"It was a good week for me, I'm making progress with my game and I'm feeling very positive," said Wozniak. "I'll now just keep working and trying to improve."
Wozniak lost the opening set in 32 minutes but pinned Li down with a 3-0 lead in the second before the Chinese player fought back.
"That was a crazy final game," said Wozniak. "In the first set she had me on my heels but in the second I began to adapt. I just wish that I could have broken in that final game for 5-all and played on."
The Canadian will prepare for qualifying rounds set for early next week in Miami after using up her final protected tournament entry for this event.
"I have a wild card into Miami so that's another chance," said Wozniak. "I'm glad my tennis is back to this level."
Milos Raonic, Thornhill, Ont., will bid for a quarter-final berth on Wednesday when he plays fifth-seeded Wimbledon winner Andy Murray.
The 20-year-old Bouchard, making her debut in the main draw at the Tennis Garden after losing in the 2013 qualifying rounds, set up a match point for Halep with a forehand wide and drove another one out a point later to end the one-hour 37-minute battle.
Bouchard, ranked a career-high 19 after her Australian Open semi-final, fired seven aces but was weighed down by six double-faults.
"I didn't start so great, but I served better in the second set," said Bouchard. "I had a few easy holds but some tough battles as well. I could have done with a few more first serves. I tried to go for my shots in the rallies. but I didn't take my chances."
Bouchard was stunned in the opening set as Halep raced away to a 5-0 lead before Bouchard could make an impression in what turned into a routine 30-minute effort.
Bouchard rallied in the second as her form returned after the slow start, levelling the sets at one each with two breaks of her seeded opponent,
Bouchard then lost a third-set break as Halep squared at 4-all. Halep put her opponent under pressure on serve in the tenth game, with Bouchard's pair of forehand errors sending her to defeat.
"She was very solid, exactly what I expected," said Bouchard, who will now head to her training base in Florida to prepare for the Miami tournament which starts next week. "She put the pressure on me today, she's won a lot of titles so she knows how to battle.
"Maybe I don't deserve it, but I'll take a day off and get back to practise. Florida is like my second home and I'm looking forward to a good tournament.