Photo : Gyles Diaz/Tennis Canada
A trio of Canadian 17-year-olds will be making their WTA main draw debuts at the 250-level National Bank Championships after advancing through qualifying.
Kayla Cross, Cadence Brace, and Marina Stakusic all won a pair of qualifying matches to advance to the main draw. For each of them, it will be a first appearance on the WTA main tour.
They join fellow teen Victoria Mboko, 15 years old, as tour-level debutants in Granby. Mboko received a wild card directly into the main draw.
Cross was the first one to book her place, cruising past fifth qualifying seed Himeno Sakatsume 6-1, 6-3 to book her spot in her first WTA Tour main draw. The young Canadian did not drop a set in Granby qualifying and lost a combined total of 10 games in her two matches.
It was Cross’ third attempt to qualify for the main draw of a WTA event, having lost in qualifying each of the last two years at the WTA 1000-level National Bank Open.
Brace was next in after beating Nadiia Kichenok in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Brace had upset the seventh seed in her first qualifying match in three sets.
Stakusic made it three-for-three for the Canadians in the second round of qualifying, finishing strong to beat New Zealand’s Erin Routliffe 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-1. Routliffe had beaten another Canadian, Bianca Jolie Fernandez, in the first round of qualifying.
Like her compatriots, Stakusic upset a seed on her way to the main draw, having beaten eighth seed Ulrikke Eikeri in straight sets in the first round.
With the three qualifications, there will be six Canadians in the main draw in Granby. Along with the four teens making their tour-level debuts, Rebecca Marino and Katherine Sebov are competing. Sebov, like Mboko, received a wild card into the main draw. Marino was the lone Canadian to earn direct entry.
Marino and Mboko will meet in a blockbuster first-round clash. Cross has been drawn against fourth seed Anna Bondar, while Brace will play seventh seed Kaja Juvan. Stakusic avoided the seeds and will meet Jaimee Fourlis. Sebov plays Xinyu Wang on Sunday.