Three Canadians into the Quarter-Finals at The Gatineau National Bank Challenger
Tennis Canada – Fernandez, Abanda and Branstine were victorious on Thursday
Gatineau, July 18, 2019 – On Thursday, three Canadians earned themselves a spot in the quarter-finals at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger. The tournament features a mixed draw, with the men competing in the $54,160 ATP Challenger event and the women competing in the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event. The tournament will be held from July 15 to 21 at Parc de l’Île in Gatineau.
It was an all-Canadian match-up between Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) and Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON). In the first meeting between the two, it was Fernandez who got off to a hot start, breaking her compatriot in the opening game. The Junior French Open champion needed 26 minutes to take the opening set. She continued her strong play in the second, eventually wining the match 6-1, 6-2. She will take on Maria Zacarias of Mexico in the quarter-finals.
Playing in only her first tournament since March, Françoise Abanda (Montreal, QC) was facing Anna Morgina of Russia. The 22-year-old Canadian overpowered her opponent in the first set, controlling the majority of the points. She needed only 28 minutes to take the lead in the match. Abanda was leading 6-3, 3-0 when Morgina retired from the match due to injury. She moves into the quarter-finals where she will face qualifier Victoria Emma of the United States.
After having to qualify to reach the main draw, Carson Branstine (Orange, CA) booked a spot in the quarter-finals thanks to a dominant showing over Alexandra Osborne of Australia, by a score of 6-4, 6-2. The 18-year-old is in her third presence in Gatineau, having won the doubles titles with compatriot Bianca Andreescu in 2018. Her best performance in singles came two years ago when she reached the second round. She will be facing the eighth seed Quinn Gleason on Friday.
Tournament Wild Card, Alexis Galarneau (Laval, QC), made a name for himself earlier in the week by notably eliminating the top seed Antoine Hoang of France in a tight three-set battle. On Thursday, he was up against another seeded player, no. 16 Duckhee Lee of South Korea. Despite getting an early break, Galarneau found himself down a set. In a closely disputed second set, Galarneau saved three match points but was unable to save a fourth, losing 6-3, 7-5.
For his part, the tournament’s third seed, Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) was in action against Joao Menezes of Brazil. After playing a marathon match the previous day, Polansky was unable to reproduce the accomplishment, as he fell short of a quarter-final spot by a score of 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
It was a tough day for Canada in doubles as most of the teams with a Canadian player lost their matches. Fernandez and Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) were the only duo to book themselves a spot in the doubles semi-finals thanks to a 6-3, 4-6, 10-6 victory.
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.