GRANBY, July 16, 2016
On Friday, Tennis Canada released the list of players in the draw of the 21st Granby National Bank Challenger, which will be held from July 31 to August 7, 2016, at Tennis Saint-Luc in Granby. In addition to a strong Canadian contingent, headliners including Stéphane Robert of France, James Ward of Great Britain, Jordan Thompson of Australia, Patricia Maria Tig of Romania and Lauren Davis of the United States will be hitting the courts.
Thanks to his ranking, Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, ON) is next in line to enter the main draw. Four wildcards will be handed out to his compatriots: newly-crowned junior Wimbledon champion Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), junior French Open singles finalist Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montréal, QC), Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON), who just claimed two consecutive Futures titles in western Canada, and Philip Bester (Vancouver, BC), who was a finalist in Granby last year. Filip Peliwo (Vancouver, BC) and Brayden Schnur (Pickering, ON) are also set to play.
The tournament will host two Top 100 players and a dozen Top 200 pros from around the world. In the men’s draw, top-seed Stéphane Robert of France is currently ranked world no.83. With his partner, he lost in the second round of the men’s doubles event at Wimbledon this year. He was also a finalist at the 2016 Challenger in Prague, Czech Republic and took the top honours at the Delhi Open. Jordan Thompson of Australia, who played doubles with former world no.1 Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon this year, is ranked world no. 88 on the ATP Tour. He recently lost in the quarterfinals of the Aegon Ilkley Trophy Challenger. The title, along with 42 500 euros in prize money, ended up going to Vincent Millot of France. Millot, the 2015 Granby Challenger champion, is in the draw again this year and poses a definite threat. World no. 240 James Ward of Great Britain was eliminated in the third round of Wimbledon by none other than Canadian Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver, BC). Last season, Ward was part of the Davis Cup team that brought home a historic win.
In the women’s draw, Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC) will lead the Canadian delegation. After many months out of the game due to injury, she will be back on the courts and armed with her best tennis. Françoise Abanda (Montréal, QC), Charlotte Robillard-Millette (Blainville, QC) and Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) will also vie for the title. At last year’s Granby Challenger, Robillard-Millette lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion. Abanda won her second career title this season at the Challenger event in Irapuato, Mexico. She is the highest ranked Canadian in the women’s draw.
The calibre of this year’s women’s event is impressive since 20 of the 22 players in the main draw are in the WTA Top 200. One is in the Top 100. First seed Patricia Maria Tig has had an excellent season thus far. She reached the quarterfinals in Madrid, where Samantha Stosur put an end to her run. She also played in the doubles semifinal at the Bol Open and in Shenzhen. Lauren Davis of the US, who has been ranked as high as world no.43, had a great run at the Australian Open. She was ultimately toppled by Maria Sharapova in the third round. Also in the draw is third-seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium. She was ranked as high as world no.41 last season but was unable to defend the points from her 2015 French Open quarterfinal appearance. Olga Govortsova of Belarus, who reached world no.35 in 2008, made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2015, losing to Madison Keys of the US.
Because the players are so close in the rankings, the 2016 Granby Challenger promises outstanding tennis and fierce competition. The amounts awarded in prize money were increased last year and now total $100,000 for the men’s draw and $50,000 for the women’s.