Canadians sweep the singles titles in Gatineau
Gatineau, July 23, 2017 – Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC) and Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) were crowned champions on Sunday in Gatineau. This was the second consecutive years that Canadian players swept the singles titles in Gatineau. Last year, it was Peter Polansky and Bianca Andreescu who were crowned champions. The tournament featured 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 was held from July 17 to 23 at Parc de l’Île in Gatineau.
Aleksandra Wozniak was disputing her first final since March 2012, where she won her last title at the ITF Women’s Circuit tournament in the Bahamas. On Sunday, she was opposing Ellen Perez of Australia, who had ousted the tournament’s fifth and seventh seed on route to her appearance in the final.
Playing in front of a packed crowd, Wozniak broke her opponent in the opening service game and consolidated her break with a strong service game. She was quick while on serve, while Perez had to work harder to hold serve. As the Canadian was serving for the set, she was broken by Perez, evening out the score and eventually led to a tie-break. Wozniak was dominant with her baseline play and took the set in a little under an hour.
The Canadian began the second with another early, break but Perez was resilient and broke back. Shortly after the Australian received a medical timeout, the match was briefly interrupted due to rain. The delay did not last long and play resumed with Wozniak picking up where she left off. She capitalized on another break point late in the set to take the match 7-6(4), 6-4.
“I am very happy with my performance this week and I would like to thank all of the fans who came out and supported me throughout the tournament. This win is very special for me and I hope to continue playing at this level next week in Granby,” stated Wozniak after her win on Sunday.
The men’s final featured an all-Canadian match-up between the defending champion Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) and Denis Shapovalov, champion of the Gatineau Futures and Drummondville Challenger earlier this year. Polansky was playing in his second consecutive final, having narrowly lost out to Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia in last week’s Winnipeg Challenger. Sunday’s final was also the ninth Challenger final this year between countrymen, but the first between two Canadians in a decade and only the third all time.
The 18-year-old Shapovalov was expeditious with the first set, breaking Polansky twice early in the match. During his own service games, Shapovalov was efficient, tallying two aces in the first. He only struggled late in the set, committing two double faults and fighting off two break points. The young Canadian closed out the set in a little over half an hour.
A short bout of rain delayed the start of the second set. Once play restarted, it was Polansky this time who went up the early break. Both opponents then exchanged breaks, with Polansky taking the second set. In the third, Shapovalov went up an early break again, while becoming more consistent on serve. He fired three of his nine aces in the match on route to his victory 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
“I am really glad to have won my second Challenger title of the year, both of which have been at home in Canada. Tournaments like these are great for Canadian players because we get to play close to home and in front of very supportive crowds,” stated Shapovalov after his victory.
With his win, Shapovalov becomes just the second teenager on the ATP World Tour to win multiple titles this year, joining Frances Tiafoe of France. Shapovalov is also the fourth Canadian winner on the ATP Challenger tour this year, a first since 2013.
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.