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Abanda and Zhao among top seeds at Gatineau National Bank Challenger

Jul 22, 2015
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Charlotte Robillard-Millette and Brit Laura Robson will be players to watch

Tennis Canada announced Wednesday the list of players that will be competing in the second edition of the Gatineau National Bank Challenger which will be held from July 25 to August 2, 2015  at parc de l’Île in Gatineau. There will be a strong Canadian contingent in this year’s draw starting with Françoise Abanda (Montréal, QC) and Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON).

Abanda was a finalist in Gatineau last year, finishing runner up to Stéphanie Foretz of France. Currently ranked no. 297 on the WTA rankings, the 18-year-old won her first professional Challenger title in 2014 at seventeen at the $25,000 Port St. Lucie Challenger. For her part, Zhao was also eliminated by Foretz in Gatineau last year. The 20-year-old is enjoying a standout NCAA career at Stanford University. Zhao won a gold medal last week at the Pan Am Games in Toronto alongside her compatriot Gabriela Dabrowski in women’s doubles. Heidi El Tabakh (Toronto, ON) also earned direct entry into the main draw. Canadians Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON), Maria Patrascu (Toronto, ON) and Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) have a received a main draw wild card. Charlotte Robillard-Milette (Blainville, QC) will be one of the players to watch in qualifying. The 16-year-old is enjoying a strong junior season as evidenced by her no. 8 world ranking. Since April, she has won two ITF junior titles and reached two other finals.

The competition will be stiff for the Canadians thanks to the likes of American Alexa Glatch, who is slated to be the tournament’s top seed with her world no. 161 ranking. Glatch has enjoyed success on Canadian soil in past, winning the singles titles at the Saguenay and Toronto Challenger events in 2008. Tournament organizers have also given a main draw wildcard to former world no. 27 Laura Robson of Great Britain. The 21-year-old has been sidelined with a wrist injury for more than a year and is now on the comeback trail. Robson reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open in 2012, beating former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters in the final match of her career. She is one of Great Britain’s top tennis prospects.

The singles main draw will be made on Sunday and qualifying begins on Saturday in Gatineau.