Photo: Tyler Anderson – Tennis Canada
High level tennis to be expected at the Granby Tennis Club
On Friday, live from the Granby Tennis Club and in the presence of Victoria Mboko, a Canadian player from the National Tennis Centre, the main draw for the National Bank Championships was held. The combined tournament, which will take place from August 20 to 28, 2022, consists for the very first time of a Hologic WTA Tour 250 event as well as an ATP Challenger event.
There will be several matches to watch in the women’s draw, including an all-Canadian affair between Rebecca Marino (no. 113) and her compatriot Mboko (no. 516). Marino, who finished the 2021 campaign ranked no. 144 in the world, is having another good season on tour, having reached the quarter-finals at the Citi Open in Washington a few weeks ago, in addition to appearing in two Grand Slam main draws (Wimbledon and Roland- Garros). Mboko, who is just 15 years old, is currently sits at no.14 on the junior rankings and is in the midst of a strong stretch of play. Besides playing in the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto last week, she also won the ITF tournament in Saskatoon on July 24. In doubles this year, she also reached the final of two junior Grand Slam events (Australian Open and Wimbledon).
It will also be worth watching the Granby debut of top seed and world no. 10, Daria Kasatkina, who was granted a main draw wild card on Friday. Kasatkina, who just won the title in San Jose a few weeks ago, will face world no. 109 Greet Minnen of Belgium in the opening round. It will be the first meeting between the two players. Since making her professional debut, she has won five WTA titles and played in five other finals.
Other top players to keep an eye on include no. 2 seed Alison Van Uytvanck and no. 3 seed Jasmine Paolini who will begin against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia and a qualifier, respectively. Van Uytvanck previously won the Canadian 250 tour stop in 2017, when the tournament was presented in Quebec City as the National Bank Cup. Paolini won her first WTA 250 title last year in Portoroz, Slovenia. She was also a semifinalist in two 250 events last July in Warsaw, Poland and Palermo, Italy.
Finally, the last Canadian in the main draw, Katherine Sebov (no. 304), who received a wild card on Friday which allowed her to avoid qualifying, will face Xinyu Wang of China when the festivities get underway. This season, she has played mostly on the ITF circuit, making the final of the ITG 25K Monastir 3 tournament in Tunisia and the semifinals of an ITF 60K tournament in Madrid, Spain.
Four Canadians in the men’s main draw
On the men’s side, there are currently four Canadians in the main draw: Gabriel Diallo (no. 553), Liam Draxl (no. 492), Juan Carlos Aguilar (no. 986) and Marko Stakusic (no. 1492). Diallo is coming off a career-best result, defeating world no. 62 James Duckworth of Australia in the first round of qualifying at the National Bank Open in Montreal. He will be competing in the fifth ATP Challenger of his career this week and will be facing a qualifier in the first round.
Draxl is the highest ranked Canadian player in Granby. A former no. 1 college player at the NCAA level, he has made several appearances in ATP Challenger tournaments, including a run to the Round of 16 in Cleveland last year. In the first round, he will face world no. 106 Jordan Thompson of Australia.
Meanwhile, Stakusic and Aguilar will face Nick Hardt and Juncheng Shang, the tournament’s sixth and eighth seeds respectively. Stakusic will be making his first main draw appearance at an ATP Challenger event while Aguilar, who also competed in qualifying at the National Bank Open last week, will be making his second main draw appearance at a Challenger event after successfully qualifying in Winnipeg in early July.
In terms of international players, Granby will be hosting several notable players, including world no. 64 Arthur Rinderknech of France and world no. 67 Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic. Rinderknech was a finalist at the ATP 250 tournament in Adelaide earlier this year and won the Poznan Challenger in May. As for Vesely, he reached the final of the ATP 500 tournament in Dubai in February, beating the likes of Denis Shapovalov, Novak Djokovic, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Marin Cilic en route to the championship match.