Photo : @AbiertoLosCabos
Borg vs. McEnroe. Navratilova vs. Evert. Federer vs. Nadal. Williams vs. Williams.
Rivalries are a huge component of what makes tennis, and sports in general, great.
As the clay season wrapped up last week, the tennis world caught a glimpse at what could be the next great rivalry on the ATP Tour for years to come between two of the game’s brightest young stars.
Here’s what you need to know.
In Case You Missed It: Sinner and Alcaraz’s budding rivalry
It is not every year that the final of the ATP 250 event during the July clay swing in Umag, Croatia, feels so consequential. But in 2022, it may have been a sign of things to come.
On Sunday, 20-year-old world No. 10 Jannik Sinner defeated the 19-year-old world No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz in three sets to win the Umag title, already the sixth of Sinner’s career and first on clay.
The pair are the two youngest members of the Top 10 and have both been hyped as future Grand Slam champions. Sinner now leads their head-to-head 2-1, with both victories coming in July having won their fourth-round clash at Wimbledon.
Despite the loss, Alcaraz moves up to a new career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world.
Perhaps the biggest story of the week was not who won a title, but who did not. Playing on home soil, on a surface she had not lost on in 2022, and as the only Top 40 player in the draw, women’s world No. 1 Iga Świątek was the overwhelming favourite at the Poland Open in Warsaw.
However, the top seed was handed her first defeat on clay since the 2021 Roland-Garros quarter-finals, falling in three sets to Caroline Garcia in the quarters.
Garcia went on to win the title, beating Ana Bogdan in straight sets. It is Garcia’s second title of the year, coming just over a month after winning on grass in Bad Homburg.
Along with Umag, the ATP 250 event in Kitzbuhel marked the end of the 2022 clay court season on the ATP Tour. Roberto Bautista Agut won that title, not dropping a set on his way to his second trophy of the year and first on clay since 2014.
Meanwhile, the summer hard-court season was getting underway in Atlanta.
Alex de Minaur picked up his second title in the American south, defeating home hope Jenson Brooksby in the final. The Aussie had previously won the title in 2019. It was only the third time in 12 editions of the tournament that an American did not win the title in Atlanta. All three other instances were Aussies; de Minaur twice and Nick Kyrgios in 2016.
Brooksby slips to 0-3 in the ATP Tour finals, with all three coming on home soil in the United States. He had upset six-time Atlanta champion John Isner, who was also the defending champion, in the quarter-finals.
The summer hard courts for the women began in Europe, with Marie Bouzkova winning the title in Prague over Anastasia Potapova. After three three-set losses in finals, the Czech finally got over the line on home soil, claiming her first career title in straight sets.
Anett Kontaveit was the top seed but lost to Potapova in the quarter-finals.
What to Watch: Canadians everywhere
After a couple of weeks without Canadians on the main tours, they are back in force this week with five competing at ATP and WTA Tour events in the North America.
Bianca Andreescu will make her 2022 hard court debut at the WTA 500 event in San Jose. Her first match on the surface this year will come against Shelby Rogers and she would meet top seed Maria Sakkari in the second round.
It is a strong draw in San Jose that also features Paula Badosa, Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka.
Gabriela Dabrowski will kick off her summer hard-court season in San Jose as well. She and partner Giuliana Olmos are the second seeds.
Both the men’s and women’s draws in Washington include Canadian content. Rebecca Marino, who got into the main draw as a qualifier, has a big-time popcorn match in the first round where she will meet Venus Williams. Marino is in the same quarter of the draw as top seed Jessica Pegula.
Denis Shapovalov will be competing in his first event since Wimbledon in Washington, where he is the sixth seed. After a bye, he will meet either J.J. Wolf or Taro Daniel in his first match. He could meet his Roland-Garros conqueror Holger Rune in the third round and is in the same quarter as top seed Andrey Rublev.
Washington is a 500 event for the ATP and a 250 for the WTA. Other big names in the men’s draw include Hubert Hurkacz and the big American contingent that features Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka among others. Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu are competing on the women’s side.
Last but certainly not least, Félix Auger-Aliassime will look to put his tough grass season behind him when he shifts to the hard courts at the ATP 250 event in Los Cabos, Mexico.
For a 250 event, the draw in Los Cabos is very strong and features world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie along with Auger-Aliassime.
Auger-Aliassime, the second seed, has a bye and will meet either John Millman or local wildcard Alex Hernandez in his opening match. He is in the bottom half of the draw with Norrie.
Under the Radar: Galarneau carries the flag in Winnipeg
A week after Victoria Mboko’s spectacular victory at home in Saskatoon, Alexis Galarneau very nearly followed suit at the ATP Challenger event in Winnipeg.
Galarneau upset top seed Liam Broady in the quarter-finals in three sets before defeating qualifier Evan Zhu in the semis to reach his first ATP Challenger Tour final, the biggest final of the Laval-native’s career so far.
He was defeated in the final by second seed Emilio Gomez. Just by reaching the final, Galarneau jumped 52 spots in the rankings up to a new career high of No. 238 in the world.
It was not all runner-up trophies for the Canadians in Winnipeg. Kelsey Stevenson won the doubles title alongside British partner Billy Harris with a comeback victory in the final.
The win is Stevenson’s first on the ATP Challenger Tour, making it the biggest title of his career to-date.
On the ITF Tour, Canada’s Jessica Luisa Alsola reached the quarter-finals of a W15 event in Vejle, Denmark.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.