Shapovalov, Polansky and Wozniak will all play for a spot in the final
Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) and Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC) all advanced to the semi-finals following their victories on Friday 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 in his first afternoon match of the tournament, Denis Shapovalov had to endure not only the heat and the humidity, but also his heavy hitting opponent. The Canadian was given the tough task of facing the tournament’s second seed Thomas Fabbiano of Italy, who is currently ranked no. 86 in the world. Shapovalov put on an impressive performance, tallying six aces on his way to advancing to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory. He will next play American Alexander Sarkissian.
The 18-year-old Canadian was back on the courts later in the evening for his semi-final doubles match, playing alongside partner Filip Peliwo (Vancouver, BC). The pair took on Americans Bradley Klahn and Jackson Withrow, the team who had eliminated Canadians Philip Bester (Vancouver, BC) and Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) the previous day. After taking the first set, Shapovalov and Peliwo dropped the second in a tie-break and were unable to comeback from an early deficit in the third, losing 5-7, 7-6(5), 10-5.
The tournament’s defending singles champion Peter Polansky faced American qualifier Marcos Giron, who upset the fourth seed Go Soeda on Thursday. Although the Canadian dropped the first set, he turned things around to take the second, went up a break in the third and never looked back. The Canadian had the full support of the crowd behind him as he advanced to the semi-finals with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory. On Saturday, he will face-off against the tournament’s top seed Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.
Aleksandra Wozniak, the only Canadian left in the women’s draw, was also in action on Friday afternoon, taking on the tournament’s third seed Mayo Hibi of Japan. It was a match characterized by numerous breaks of serve by both players, with the Canadian converting on all six of her break point opportunities. Wozniak was more consistent than her opponent, taking the match 6-4, 7-6(5) in just under two hours. Playing in her first semi-final since last September, she will take on Priscilla Hon of Australia.
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