SAGUENAY, October 6, 2016
The players’ list for the eleventh edition of the $50,000 Saguenay National Bank Challenger was unveiled on Thursday during a press conference at the Saguenay Indoor Tennis Club. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), will be held from October 15 to 23, 2016.
“Once again this year, we have a very interesting and strong players’ list. With four Canadians directly into the main draw and four more wildcards to be awarded, Canada will be well-represented,” said Tournament Director Richard Quirion. “Seven players ranked inside the Top 200 will be in Saguenay to battle for the title.”
Françoise Abanda (Montreal, QC) will be the top ranked Canadian in the draw thanks to her world no. 187 ranking. This season, the 19-year-old won her second Challenger title in Irapuato, Mexico in March. She also reached the second round of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank thanks to a victory over Saisai Zheng, then ranked no. 66 in the world. Abanda will be making her fourth appearance in Saguenay and will be trying to make the quarter-finals for the first time.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Vanessa Andreescu (Mississauga, QC) will also be a player to watch. In August, she won her maiden pro title at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger after reaching the final there the year before playing her first professional tournament. Andreescu currently sits at no. 7 on the world junior rankings after reaching a career-high of no. 3 earlier in 2016. She was a semifinalist at the Junior U.S. Open last month.
Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, QC) will also be in the main draw and is coming off two strong performances on American soil. She reached the semifinals of the $75,000 Albuquerque Challenger and the quarter-finals at the $25,000 Stillwater Challenger. The former world no. 21 will be making a return to Saguenay after falling to Angelique Kerber in the semifinals in 2007.
Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON) is into the main draw with her world no. 360 ranking. Zhao made the decision to turn pro after enjoying a successful NCAA career at the prestigious Stanford University.
Canada’s neighbours to the south will also have a strong contingent in Saguenay. The top 5 players on this year’s list are from the United States. World no. 109 Jennifer Brady is at the top and will be seeking her second title in Quebec this season after being crowned champion in Granby this summer. Up and coming Catherine Bellis follows Brady on the list after turning heads with a third round appearance at the U.S. Open and quarter-final appearance at the National Bank Cup presented by Mazda in Quebec City. Reigning champion Jovana Jaksic of Serbia will also be back to defend her title.