Tennis Canada announced Tuesday the list of players who will compete in the 2019 edition of the National Bank Canadian Open Junior Championships. Sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Grade 1 junior tournament will be held from August 25 to 31 at Parc De La Rochelle in Repentigny.
18-year-old Taha Baadi (Laval, QC), currently ranked no. 33 in the junior rankings, is slated to be the 11th seed at the tournament. The Laval native had a stellar start to the 2019 season, reaching the semi-finals of the Grade 1 junior event in Paraguay followed by a quarter-final appearance at a Grade A tournament in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He then went on to his best performance at a junior Grand Slam when he reached the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros, notably upsetting the 12th seed in the second round. Baadi will be making his fourth appearance in Repentigny, having reached the second round in singles and the quarter-finals in doubles last year.
Mélodie Collard (Gatineau, QC) is another Canadian player who has made her mark on the junior circuit this year. The 16-year-old has won two singles titles since the start of the year and reached the final on two other occasions. Her breakthrough performances have allowed her to climb almost 400 spots in the junior rankings, bringing her inside the Top 50 where she currently sits at no. 47. Earlier this year, she also helped Canada’s junior Fed Cup team qualify for the Finals. Collard will be playing in Repentigny for only the second time, as she fell in the opening round in 2018.
Tennis Canada also announced a few of the main draw wild card recipients. Five Wild Cards for the main draw of the boy’s event have been awarded to Joshua Lapadat, Ilya Tiraspolsky, Christopher Heck, Jaden Weekes and Antoine Marleau while Mia Kupres, Annabelle Xu, Kayla Cross et Marina Stakusic were all main draw wild cards recipients of the girl’s event.
“The tournament in Repentigny has played an important role in the careers of a number of local and international athletes. It has allowed them to gain valuable points at the junior level, preparing them for the final junior Grand Slam event of the year in New York,” stated Tournament Director, Francis Milloy. “Over the years, we have seen some standout performances from Canadian athletes, including recent Rogers Cup Champion Bianca Andreescu who won the title in Repentigny back in 2015.”
On the international front, the tournament will welcome the top male player in the ITF junior rankings, Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan, who won the singles titles at Junior Wimbledon just a few weeks ago. The other top seeds on the boy’s side include Harold Mayot of France, ranked no. 8 in the world, and Emilio Nava of the United States, no. 9. Another name tennis fans might recognize is that of American Dali Blanch, brother of professional player Ulises Blanch. The younger Blanch competed on Canadian soil earlier this year at the junior Davis Cup competition held at the IGA Stadium in Montreal where he helped the American team finish in first place.
The tournament will also play host to a number of top ranked junior female players, including world no. 10 Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan, no. 11 Hurrican Tyra Black of the United States and no. 12 Sada Mahimana of Burundi. Last year’s quarter-finalist Daria Frayman of Russia will also be returning to Repentigny in 2019.
To consult the full player lists:
The National Bank Canadian Open Junior Championships is the only Grade 1 ITF junior tournament in Canada. The tournament welcomes the best players from around the world between the ages of 14 and 18.
(Feature photo : Patrice Lapointe)