Diez and Fernandez fall short in the first round
Only two Canadians were in first round singles action on Monday, but neither Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) nor Steven Diez (Toronto, ON) were able to move on to 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.
Playing for the first time at the Gatineau Challenger, Steven Diez faced off against American Alexander Sarkissian Monday afternoon. The match was characterized by a lack of consistent serving, especially in the first set, with both players struggling to hold while on serve. Diez only managed a first serve percentage of 52%, while also committing four double faults. After a little over an hour of play, the American eliminated the Canadian in the first round by a score of 6-3, 6-2.
Leylah Annie Fernandez was the only other Canadian in singles action on Monday. One of the tournament’s wild card recipients, Fernandez had the tough task of facing Jessika Ponchet of France. At the mere age of 14, The Canadian was competing in only her ninth professional tournament. Earlier this year, she became the first player born in 2002 to win a main draw match at a Challenger event when she reached the second round in Mississippi. The task proved too challenging for the young Fernandez, who fell to her opponent 6-1, 6-2.
There was plenty of Canadian content in the doubles draw on Monday, which featured an all-Canadian match-up between Filip Peliwo (Vancouver, BC) and partner Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) against Hugo Di Feo (Montreal, QC) and his partner Samuel Monette (Montreal, QC). In an entertaining three set match, Peliwo and Shapovalov walked away with the victory. The other Canadian duos of Isabelle Boulais (Toronto, ON) with partner Alexandra Vagramov (Vancouver, BC) and Brayden Schnur (Pickering, ON) with partner Steven Diez also won their first round doubles matches.
The only major upset of the day came when qualifier Ellen Perez of Australia ousted the tournament’s fifth seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal. On the men’s side, Brit Liam Broady got the better of Slovenian Blaz Rola, who had made the quarter-finals in Drummondville earlier this year.
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