Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev hold their trophies and smile.

Photo : Corrine Dubreuil/Open13

If the first two months of the year are any indication, Félix Auger-Aliassime is going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2022, and hopefully beyond.

The Montrealer kept his hot run going last week, but he was not the only Canadian to find himself contesting a final as competitors from the Great White North were getting their hands on hardware at all levels of the tennis world last week.

Here’s what you need to know

In Case You Missed It: Another Week, Another Final

It’s not uncommon for a player to suffer a lapse the week after winning their first title, especially when the win is as emotionally driven as Auger-Aliassime’s victory in Rotterdam.

But the Canadian picked up in Marseille where he left off, advancing to his second final in a row without dropping a set, stretching his winning streak to eight matches. Unfortunately for Auger-Aliassime, Andrey Rublev was not interested in falling victim a second week in a row, and he won the battle of Top 10 players in a tight 7-5, 7-6(4) final.

Denis Shapovalov also got his hands on some hardware last week, reaching the doubles final in Doha alongside partner Rohan Bopanna. It was Shapovalov’s second career doubles final. The pair lost to Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski.

Shapovalov’s singles run was ended in the quarter-finals by Arthur Rinderknech. Roberto Bautista Agut eventually won that title.

Ostapenko’s Back?

While all the actual Canadian content on the top tours was on the men’s side this week, Canadian fans might want to pay attention to what happened at the WTA 500 event in Dubai for a very different reason.

With the Billie Jean King Cup playoff between Canada and Latvia looming in April, the last thing Canadians need is an in-form Jelena Ostapenko leading the opposition. But if the Latvian can keep up her form from Dubai, Team Canada is going to be in for a tough one.

The 2017 French Open champion won the title in Dubai last week in dramatic fashion, beating four consecutive Grand Slam winners, Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep, just to reach the final, where she took down Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets for her fifth career title.

Down in South America, Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest man to win an ATP 500 title by claiming the Rio Open. Up in North America, Cameron Norrie denied Reilly Opelka a second title in as many weeks, beating the giant American in the Delray Beach final.

What to Watch: Busiest Week Yet

February is usually a bit of a dead spot in the schedule, but this year is looking like an exception as almost the entire ATP and WTA Top 10s are competing this week across three events.

Auger-Aliassime is actually the only member of the ATP Top 10 not competing as he withdrew at the last minute from Dubai.

Instead, Shapovalov will be carrying the flag as the lone Canadian competing on the top tours this week in singles. He is sixth seed in Dubai and actually benefits from his countryman’s withdrawal, as they were in the same quarter and it leaves Shapovalov as the highest-ranked player in that section of the draw.

He will open against Marton Fucsovics and will meet Taro Daniel in round two should he be victorious.

The big headline in Dubai is the return of Novak Djokovic, who will be competing in his first event of 2022. Djokovic is the first seeded opponent Shapovalov could face in the semi-finals.

Also competing in Dubai are Top 10ers Rublev and Jannik Sinner.

Incredibly, this could be Djokovic’s last week (in his current stint) at number one in the world. Under the right circumstances, Daniil Medvedev could be No. 1 this time next week.

The Russian is leading the remainder of the Top 10, including Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal, at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco.

Nadal has an eerily similar path in Acapulco as he did in Melbourne, albeit everything a round earlier, as he is in line to meet Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals and Medvedev in the semis. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are in the bottom half of the draw.

1000 season is here

Hopefully you filled out your bracket in the Tennis Canada Bracket Challenge (if not, Indian Wells is coming soon!) because the first WTA 1000 event of the season is taking place in Doha with eight of the Top 10 in action.

Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed and is joined by Barbora Krejcikova, Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit, Swiatek, Garbine Muguruza and Ons Jabeur.

Petra Kvitova is the defending champion. Also in the draw are Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins and last week’s world-beater Ostapenko.

Canada’s Gabriella Dabrowski and partner Giuliana Olmos are seeded fourth in the doubles competition.

There is a smaller event with an interesting draw on the WTA Tour in Guadalajara this week where US Open champion Emma Raducanu is the top seed. There is also an ATP 250 event in Santiago Chile.

In Case You Missed It: Hardware for Marino, Juniors

As mentioned earlier, Canadians at all levels had a good week on the tour.

Rebecca Marino reached the final of the ITF event in Cancun, beating countrywoman Carol Zhao in the semis. It was Marino’s first final since winning the title in Evansville last July.

On the junior circuit, it was a huge weekend for the members of the National Tennis Centre as four girls cleaned up at the J1 event in Brazil. Victoria Mboko won the singles title, beating fellow Canadian Mia Kupres in the final. Annabelle Xu also reached the semi-finals, losing to Mboko.

Mboko doubled-up at the event, also claiming the doubles title with Kayla Cross, beating Kupres and her American partner in the final.

This week, Vasek Pospisil is competing at the ATP Challenger event in Pau, France, while Brayden Schnur and Alexis Galarneau are in the draw at another Challenger in Forli, Italy.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.