(photo credit: AP)
Tzipi Obziler and Anna Smashnova both fell at the first hurdle of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Sunday night, succumbing to French opposition in the first round of the $1,340,000 tournament.
Obziler, currently ranked 140 in the world by the WTA and who had to qualify to take part in the tournament, had an impressive showing against the higher ranked Nathalie Dechy (35), but eventually lost 7-6, 2-6, 1-6.
The 33-year-old Obziler came into the match on a seven-match win streak following her victory at the ITF event in Washington, DC, two weeks ago and her two wins in the Rogers Cup qualifiers.
Despite being ranked more than 100 places below Dechy, Obziler was the better of the two players for long parts of the match. The Israeli was the first to break serve, but Dechy broke back almost immediately and the set remained tight and went into a tiebreaker. Obziler raced forward at the start of the break and completed a 7-3 win to secure the first set by 7-6.
The Israeli couldn't maintain her good form at the start of second set and began to tire. Dechy broke her opponent's serve at the beginning of the set and went on to win it easily 6-2.
The third and decisive set was very similar to the second, as Obziler lost her serve early and did not keep pace with the Frenchwoman. Dechy opened up a lead and seized full control of the match, completing a comfortable 6-1 victory.
Smashnova's (61) fortunes were not much better than Obziler's. The Israeli number two lost 6-3, 6-3 to Marion Bartoli (28) in a rain-disrupted match. Smashnova was second best to Bartoli throughout the match and never felt comfortable against Shahar Pe'ers doubles partner.
Pe'er and Bartoli were in action later Tuesday when they played their first round doubles match against Canadians Stephanie Dubois and Aleksandra Wozniak.