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Five Canadians win their opening round matches at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger

Jul 18, 2017

Shapovalov, Polansky, Schnur, Wozniak and Branstine are on to the second round

A total of eleven Canadians were in first round singles action on Tuesday, five of which managed to move into the second round in Gatineau. The tournament features a mixed draw, with the men competing in the $75,000 ATP Challenger event and the women competing in the $25,000 ITF Challenger event. The tournament will be held from July 17 to 23 at Parc de l’Île in Gatineau.

In one of the feature matches of the day, rising star Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) took on fellow Canadian Philip Bester (Vancouver, BC) on Centre Court. Shapovalov, who was crowed champion at the Gatineau Futures and Drummondville Challenger events earlier this year, defeated his compatriot in three sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. In his victory, Shapovalov fired a total of 12 aces.

Defending champion Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) eased past his first round match against Hiroki Moriya of Japan by a score of 6-2, 6-2 in a little over an hour. Filip Peliwo (Vancouver, BC) and Benjamin Sigouin (Vancouver, BC) were not as successful as their compatriots, as they were unable to move past the first round. Brayden Schnur (Pickering, ON) also won his match on Tuesday, ousting American Bradley Klahn 6-3, 7-6(5). Although Schnur tallied less aces than his opponent, he was more consistent in his service games. Up next for Schnur is the tournament’s top seed Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.

On the women’s side, Carson Branstine (Orange, CA) made quick work of her opening match by overcoming fellow Canadian Anca Craciun 6-2, 6-2. Branstine was able to capitalize on her numerous break point opportunities in Tuesday’s win. Joining her in the second round is the tournament’s sixth seed Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC), who defeated Brit Katie Swan 7-6(5), 6-1. The Quebec native and former world no. 21 is continuing her return to form after a prolonged absence due to a string of injuries.

Despite putting up valiant efforts, both Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON) and 15-year-old Layne Sleeth (Markham, ON) were unable to join their fellow Canadians in the second round, falling to Australian Priscilla Hon and qualifier Samantha Murray of Great Britain respectively.

Most of the other tournament top seeds were successful in their opening round matches, with Thomas Fabbiano (2), Blaz Kavcic (3), Go Soeda (4) and Vincent Millot (8) moving on in the men’s draw and Olivia Rogowska (1), Danielle Lao (2) and Mayo Hibi (3) in the women’s draw. There were only two minor upsets on Tuesday, as Jason Jung (6) and Miharu Imanishi (8) were both eliminated.

The Gatineau National Bank Challenger is the first of two mixed draw tournaments held in Quebec during the month of July. The tournament will be followed by the Granby National Bank Challenger.

 

Feature photo: Guy Deschênes