By Sean Farrell, special to EmiratesUSOpenSeries.
MONTREAL - Canada's top women tennis players were right at home as they took center stage at the Rogers Cup.
Eugenie Bouchard made her first Uniprix Stadium appearance in the tournament's main draw Wednesday against Israel's Shahar Peer.
Aleksandra Wozniak and Stephanie Dubois were featured in Tuesday night's matches on the main stadium court. All three hail from the Montreal area and each entered the main draw as a wild-card.
Bouchard, a native of Westmount, Quebec, won both the girls' singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon last month. The partisan crowd leapt to its feet as she finished off her first-round upset of the 56th-ranked Peer, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.
"I loved the atmosphere," said Bouchard, who entered the tournament at 237 in the rankings. "The crowd reaction was insane. It was really cool and I'm proud of myself for the way I played and fought, especially in the third set. I was getting tired - I mean, she was, too, of course - but I stayed in there and I'm happy that I was able to continue playing the way I wanted to play and pull it out."
The win set up a second-round matchup against 2011 French Open champion Li Na of China, who is currently ranked 11.
"I'm really excited," Bouchard said. "She'll be the highest-ranked player I've ever played. She won a Grand Slam so she's obviously a very, very good player and I'm just looking forward to playing [Thursday] night here in front of the crowd, who will hopefully support me again, and I'll try to play my best."
On Wednesday afternoon, Rogers Cup organizers also honored the late Gary Carter in a brief ceremony after Bouchard's win.
Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, Carter began his career with the Montreal Expos, making his debut at Jarry Park - the site of Uniprix Stadium - in September 1974. He succumbed to brain cancer on February 16 at the age of 57.
Bouchard took part in the ceremony, donning a tri-color Expos baseball cap and Carter's No. 8 jersey. After swinging through two pitches with a baseball bat, she grabbed her racket and drove the third tennis ball thrown her way into the "center field" bleachers.
Another local favorite, Wozniak won the 2008 Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif. and recently played for her country in the Olympics Games, where she lost her second-round match to Venus Williams.
The 24-year-old native of Blainville, Quebec, recognized that she is fortunate to have the opportunity to play in front of her hometown fans.
"The crowd always helps you surpass yourself," said Wozniak, currently ranked 55. "It brings you some extra encouragement in yourself and motivation and so much energy like when you need it to finish a match like tonight. It's wonderful to have such a nice crowd."
Wozniak won her first-round match against Daniela Hantuchova, coming back from a rain delay to win a tiebreaker for a 7-5, 7-6 (5) first-round win.
"I was surprised that there were still a lot of fans there and supporting and they were so into it and were really excited, so that for sure really boosts your spirits up," she said.
Earlier Tuesday evening, Dubois fell to Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa, 1-6, 6-3, 6-0.