WASHINGTON, D.C. – It’s good to see the Canadian mighty mite back on the courts.
And next week, Toronto’s Sharon Fichman will play the Rogers Cup for the first time in four years.
The 28-year-old didn’t think she’d be back on a tennis court 12 months ago (we’ll have more on that later in the week).
But here she is, on a tour halfway around the world inside a week.
Fichman won the first title of her comeback last weekend in Jurmala, Latvia, on clay, with Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic. It was the second of her career; the first came in 2014, when she won Auckland with American Maria Sanchez.
The 28-year-old flew all the way to Washington, D.C. on Monday, to play on a different surface, with a different partner (Naomi Broady) in significantly different weather conditions.
Still, she and Broady managed to win their first-round match on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals.
Thursday, they lost to the No. 3 seeds, Anna Kalinskaya and Miyu Kato (who also were playing their first tournament together), 6-4, 3-6, [10-4].
Fichman’s last four victories came in match tiebreaks, including the final in Latvia. So the odds were going to go against her at some point. But some fairly routine volley misses in the breaker sealed the deal.
Toronto next up, with …. ?
Fichman’s first Rogers Cup was all the way back in 2005, when she was just 14. She won one game against Rika Fujiwara in the first round of singles qualifying,
She and Valérie Tétreault (who retired years ago and now works for Tennis Canada) lost to Stéphanie Foretz of France and Adriana Serra-Zanetti of Italy 8-6 in a pro set in the doubles qualifying.
If those names aren’t that familiar, it’s because they’re all out of the game although in the case of Fujiwara, who turns 38 next month, retirement came only a year ago.
Her last Rogers Cup was in 2015. In between, she retired, and got involved in coaching and did some television commentary.
Who will she play doubles with?
We can reveal that it will be none other than countrywoman Genie Bouchard.
You’d think they’d have played together in Fed Cup more. But it actually only happened once, back in 2013.
In Ukraine, Fichman beat Lesia Tsurenko in singles. And then she and Bouchard combined to beat Tsurenko and Elina Svitolina in the deciding doubles to clinch a World Group II playoff tie.