Upset specialist Alize Cornet lead the proceedings on Wednesday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, rolling over reigning Wimbledon champion and No. 4 seed Angie Kerber 6-4, 6-1.
“I didn’t adopt the same tactic last year in Beijing than today — I know also she improved herself in the last six months a lot,” Cornet said after her second consecutive victory again the German. “Last year in Beijing, I was more focused about playing the forehand, moving her. It was different tactic today. It was more like playing on the backhand side, also being aggressive. It was different, and I’m happy I actually adapted my tactic depending on her, and that I could do it the whole match.”
Kerber, who committed 20 unforced errors in the first set alone, said her first match in three weeks was a rough transition.
“It is always not so easy to change also the surface,” Kerber said of moving from grass to hard court, arguably one of the easiest transitions on tour. “I think I need a little bit more time to get used to hardcourt again, to have a lot of matches, a lot of practice sessions on hard.”
Cornet will next face No. 15 seed Ashleigh Barty, who defeated Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6(7), 6-2.
“I think she plays a little bit like a guy, with her forehand, big serve,” Cornet said. “She’s not so tall, but she has such a big serve — I don’t know how she does that.”
Other upset-makers on a rain-shortened Wednesday were Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens easing past No. 9 Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2, and Maria Sharapova winning the all-Russian battle with No. 12 Daria Kasatkina 6-0, 6-2.
“I came on the court having a lot of respect for my opponent because she’s up and coming but has already established herself,” Sharapova said of Kasatkina. “She’s No. 12 in the world, which is an incredible achievement at her age. I knew I had a tough match ahead of me. I was focused from the beginning and I finished it that way.”
Also advancing into the third round were No. 3 Sloane Stephens zooming past Canadian wildcard hope Francois Abanda 6-0, 6-2, and No. 5 Elina Svitolina winning when opponent Mihaela Buzarnescu retired with an ankle injury at 6-3, 6-7(5), 4-3.
“I think she’s a great player — honestly, she’s young,” Stephens said of Abanda. “Obviously she needs more experience, playing more at this level, but I think that just comes with time. It happens to all of us, so it’s not anything to be too worried about.”
Highlights on Thursday in Montreal include (3) Stephens vs. (Q) Suarez Navarro, (1) Halep vs. Pavlyuchenkova to finish, (13) Venus Williams vs. Cirstea, (6) Garcia vs. Sharapova, (15) Barty vs. Cornet, and (WC) Azarenka vs. Konta to finish.
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