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Monday Digest: Career-Bests for Canadians at Roland-Garros – Tennis Canada

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The Canadians made their presence known in the first week of Roland-Garros.  

Highlighted by the return of Bianca Andreescu after a lengthy injury layoff, four of the five Canadians in the main draw got through multiple rounds, with three of them matching their career-best results in Paris. 

This week, one of Canada’s wheelchair athletes will look to make his mark on the Parisian clay after a strong lead-up performance. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

In Case You Missed It: Four Canadians Score Wins at Roland-Garros 

While all five Canadians competing in the singles draws at the second Grand Slam event of the season failed to reach the second week, four of them had their best results at the clay-court major. 

Félix Auger-Aliassime had the deepest run, reaching the fourth round in Paris for the second time in his career. He served brilliantly through three rounds, taking out Yoshihito Nishioka, Henri Squire, and 15th seed Ben Shelton before meeting his match in the form of third seed Carlos Alcaraz. 

A year removed from reaching round three in Paris for the first time, Denis Shapovalov repeated the feat with victories over Luca Van Assche and 25th seed Frances Tiafoe before getting overpowered by world No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz. 

In her first event back after nine months away from the tour, Bianca Andreescu impressed at Roland-Garros, reaching the third round for the second time with wins over Sara Sorribes Tormo and 23rd seed Anna Kalinskaya before coming up just short against 12th seed Jasmine Paolini. 

Read also: ATP Power Rankings Ahead of Roland-Garros

Gabriel Diallo had a different kind of first in Paris, qualifying for his first major main draw. However, he lost in the first round to Kei Nishikori. 

Four of the five Canadians reached the third round in Paris, with former quarter-finalist Leylah Annie Fernandez also scoring a pair of wins over Jessika Ponchet and Wang Xiyu before going down in two tight sets to eighth seed Ons Jabeur. 

Fernandez is the lone Canadian playing doubles, joining forces with Erin Routliffe. They rallied from a set down to win their opening match before a dominant 6-0, 6-1 win in round two over the Japanese pair of Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya. 

What to Watch: Juniors, Wheelchair Join at Roland-Garros 

Three Canadians will be participating in the second week of the French Open. 

Leylah Annie Fernandez is the lone carryover from week one as she and Erin Routliffe are through to the third round of the women’s doubles. The ninth seeds meet Marta Kostyuk and Elena-Gabriela Ruse in the third round.  

The Canadian-Kiwi pair are the highest-seeded team left in the top half of the draw. No. 13 seeds Ulrikke Eikeri and Ingrid Neel are potential quarter-final opponents, with 11th seeds Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini potentially awaiting in the semis finals. 

Keegan Rice is the lone Canadian competing in the junior event and got his singles campaign underway with a straight-set win on Monday. He will play second seed Joel Schwaerzler in round two. 

Read also: WTA Power Rankings – Is Swiatek’s fourth Roland Garros title inevitable?

In doubles, Rice is teaming up with Petr Brunclik of Czechia. They play fourth seeds Kaylan Bigun and Jagger Leach in the first round. 

Rob Shaw arrives in Paris with some good form after a strong run last week on French clay in Royan, but he will have his hands full in the singles at Roland-Garros as he drew top seed Niels Vink in round two. 

Shaw is teaming up with David Wagner in the doubles. They will play second seeds Andy Lapthorne and Guy Sasson in their opening match.  

Both Fernandez and Shaw reached their respective doubles finals in 2023. 

Under the Radar: Shaw Bringing Momentum Into Paris 

While the draw at Roland-Garros was not the most kind to Rob Shaw, he has every reason to be confident heading into the second major of the year after a huge week on the French clay in Royan.  

Shaw reached both finals at the ITF event, winning the doubles title alongside Heath Davidson. 

The pair have now won four titles together in 2024. They were the top seeds in Royan and did not have it easy, needing match tiebreaks in each round but they were able to find a way, taking down second seeds Francisco Cayulef and Donald Ramphadi 10-8 in the decider for the title. 

In singles, Shaw reached his first final of 2024. His run was highlighted by a semifinal victory over Ramphadi, who is ranked fourth in the world. That win came on a day when the Canadian had to play two matches because of rain delays.  

After his big win over Ramphadi, Shaw said, “Today is probably the best I have felt on a tennis court in close to a year. I fully committed to playing the way I wanted to play and mentally stayed extremely strong, despite some challenging moments. There were opportunities for me to self implode, or give up, but I dug deep when I needed to, and produced some great tennis. Both of my opponents had gotten the best of me the past three matches so it was nice to get some redemption wins.” 

Ramphadi (left) and Shaw.

His run eventually came to an end at the hands of Ahmet Kaplan in the title match. 

Canada had its first victory on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2024 last week, with Liam Draxl and Benjamin Sigouin claiming the doubles title at an event in Little Rock. 

The all-Canadian squad went on a giant-killer run, taking out three of the top four-seeded teams on their way to the title, including wins over top seeds Joshua Paris and Ramkumar Ramanathan 16-14 in the match tiebreak in the semifinals and second seeds Rithvik Bollipalli and Hans Hach Verdugo in the final. 

Photo : @UKMensTennis

It is the first ATP Challenger title of any kind of Sigouin and the third for Draxl, the latter’s second ATP Challenger doubles crown. 

Victoria Mboko is continuing to make strides as her 2024 season heats up. She reached her first final of the year last week at a W50 event in Otocec, Slovenia, beating the sixth, third, and second seeds on her way to the title match, where she lost in three sets to Barbora Palicova. 

This week on the ATP Challenger Tour, Denis Shapovalov is getting his grass season underway early, competing at the Lexus Surbiton Trophy event in the United Kingdom. 

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.  

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