Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC) and Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), the two youngest players in the draw, won their first and second round matches, respectively on Wednesday at the tenth edition of the Gatineau Futures presented by the Turpin Group, National Bank Financial. Sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the tournament, which offers $25,000 U.S. in prize money, will be played until March 5 at the Sporthèque in Hull.
Shapovalov played Frederik Nielsen of Denmark for a spot in the quarter-finals. The 17-year-old jumped out to a fast start, winning the first five games of the match and never looked back. Faster and more powerful than his opponent, Shapovalov, seeded second in the tournament, came through with a 6-1, 6-4 victory. On Friday, he will face Germany’s Tim Puetz. Shapovalov is looking to win the fourth ITF Futures title of his career.
For his part, Auger-Aliassime kicked off his Gatineau singles campaign against his compatriot Pavel Krainik. The first set was tightly contested and Auger-Aliassime finally broke through on his opponent’s serve in the eleventh game to secure the opening frame. The 16-year-old wrapped up the win in straight sets 7-5, 6-3. He will meet American Eric Quigley in the second round on Thursday not before 4 p.m.
“It’s never easy to play the first match of a tournament after three weeks of training,” said Auger-Aliassime after the match. “When I play at home, I tend to put more pressure on myself. I felt nervous at the start, but managed to fight through and get the win.”
Three other Canadians were also in action on Wednesday. Filip Peliwo (Vancouver, BC) needed just 63 minutes to defeat his compatriot Stefan Frljanic 6-2, 6-3 and will take on Laurent Lokoli of France in round two. Philip Bester (Vancouver, BC) fell in the opening round to American JC Aragone 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
The Gatineau Futures presented by the Turpin Group, National Bank Financial is the first of three consecutive tournaments being played throughout Quebec in the months of February and March. The Gatineau event will be followed by the Sherbrooke Futures and the Drummondville National Bank Challenger.
Featured photo taken by Roger Lauzon