Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak wins her opening match at the 2012 Bell Challenge

Canadians Wozniak, Bouchard advance at Bell Challenge

Pair of Quebecois win on home soil

Canadians Aleksandra Wozniak and Genie Bouchard both won their first-round matches at the 20th edition of the WTA Bell Challenge Tuesday night in Quebec City.

Wozniak, ranked 42nd in the world, prevailed in a three-set match against Elena Vesnina of Russia, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, in a total match time of one hour 52 minutes.

Wozniak started off strong, breaking the Russian’s serve en route to a 2-0 lead. Vesnina, ranked 81st in the world, won the next two games but she could overcome the Canadians strong backhand as Wozniak took the first set 6-2.

The 25-year-old from Blainville, Que., held serve in the second set for a 1-0 lead but struggled to build on her impressive form. Vesnina battled back, largely on Wozniak’s unforced errors and won the second set 6-4.

“In the middle of the second set, I missed a few service returns.” Wozniak told reporters after her match. “The reason was because I was backing up a bit more and she took advantage of that to move into the ball.”

After holding serve to go up 3-2 in the final set, Wozniak capitalized on a decisive break point, crushing a forehand that the 27-year-old Russian hit into the net for a 4-2 lead.

While Canada’s No.1 female tennis player dropped her next service game, she still closed out the set.

She will now play American Melanie Oudin in the second round Thursday night morning at 10 a.m. ET.

“I’m happy to have won, luckily I found my rhythm in the third set.”

In the later match on Tuesday, compatriot Bouchard won in straight sets against her former American double partner Grace Min, 6-4, 6-3.

The duo won the 2011Wimbledon junior girls’ doubles title. Bouchard also captured the Wimbledon single girls’ crown this year while Min won last year’s edition.

The 18-year-old fromWestmount, Que., only trailed once during the match and didn’t lose service game in the second set, aiding her to a victory.

She will next play Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic, currently ranked 60th, on Thursday.

Quebecers Marie-Eve Pelletier and Stephanie Dubois, who played earlier in the day, both lost their first-round matches.

Pelletier bowed out to world No.62 Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova 7-6 (2), 6-1, while Dubois also lost in straight sets to American Lauren Davis, 7-5 6-3.

“I was a bit disappointed with that tiebreak, but still happy with how I fought” Pelletier commented. “I have no regrets; I played my game and I looked forward.”