DRUMMONDVILLE, March 15, 2016
The qualifying rounds wrapped up on Monday at the Drummondville National Bank Challenger. In addition, Great Britain’s Liam Broady and Yannick Mertens of Belgium played one of the three main draw matches on the schedule at the $50,000 tournament being played at the René-Verrier indoor tennis club in Drummondville.
Mertens, seeded no. 6 in the draw, needed three sets to defeat Broady, semifinalist at the Gatineau Futures, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4. The 28-year-old is currently ranked no. 198 in the world and hit a career high of no. 179 last week. A few days ago, Mertens captured the 20th ITF Futures title of his career in France. Last season, he enjoyed a 14 match win streak, winning two tournaments and reaching two finals.
Canadians Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) and Philip Bester (Vancouver, BC) will play their first round matches on Tuesday. Polansky, who qualified for the main draw in Indian Wells last week before falling to Fernando Verdasco in the opening round, will face French qualifier Hugo Nys. For his part, Bester will play the evening session match against rising US-American Tommy Paul.
Félix Auger-Aliassime was forced to withdraw from the event because of an abdominal injury. Last year, the 15-year-old enjoyed a memorable run in Drummondville. He became the youngest player in history to qualify for the main draw of a Challenger before being forced to withdraw from his first round match.
“I would have liked to have been able to participate in the Drummondville National Bank Challenger since it is a tournament that I loved playing last year,” said Auger-Aliassime. “Unfortunately, I am dealing with an abdominal injury and as a preventative measure, my team and I decided that it would be best to not compete this week. I will be back on the court in a few weeks. I wish the best of luck to the tournament organizers and I look forward to seeing them next year.”