Leylah Fernandez hits a backhand.

Photo : Mauricio Paiz

It’s time for the final Grand Slam event of 2023 and the Canadians will be looking to recapture some of that New York magic.

The US Open has historically been one of the better majors for Canada, but the contingent at the 2023 event is a bit smaller than at recent Slams.

Here’s what you need to know.

In Case You Missed It: Fernandez, Dabrowski bringing some momentum

While Leylah Annie Fernandez’s run at the WTA 250 event in Cleveland may have ended with a thud, the Canadian should bring some confidence into the US Open after reaching her second tour-level quarter-final of the season.

The Canadian cruised through the first two rounds of the Tennis in the Land event before bowing out in the last eight to Tatjana Maria in straight sets.

Gabriela Dabrowski also had a strong showing in Cleveland, reaching the semifinals alongside Erin Routliffe before falling to the eventual champions Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi.

Caroline Garcia’s recent struggles continued as, despite being the lone Top 10 player in the field. She fell in straight sets in the quarter-finals Zhu Lin.

Read also: Carlota Lee receives Tennis Canada’s inaugural Prix Jacqueline L. Boutet Award 

Qualifying for the US Open took place last week but it did not go well for the Canadians.

None of the five in contention even reached the final round of qualifying. Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil both won their opening matches before falling in round two. Gabriel Diallo, Alexis Galarneau, and Katherine Sebov all were beaten in the first round.

*(Year-to-date titles/career titles)

What to Watch: Taking a Bite of the Big Apple

Five Canadians will be competing in the final Grand Slam of 2023 at the US Open, but the draw has not been kind the host nation’s northern neighbours.

Milos Raonic will return to the lone major where he has never reached the quarter-finals, but his odds of finally getting to the last eight in New York seem slim as he drew No. 7 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round on Monday night.

Raonic has won both previous meetings with the Greek and has never even dropped a set against him, but both of those came back in 2020 before the Canadian’s layoff.

Should he pull the upset, the next seed Raonic could face would be No. 28 Christopher Eubanks in the third round, followed by No. 9 Taylor Fritz in round four. He is in the same quarter as Novak Djokovic.

Felix Auger-Aliassime is in the same section of the draw as his countryman but faces a tough road to an all-Canadian quarter-final.

Coming into the US Open with a 2-7 record since the start of the clay season, Auger-Aliassime will have his hands full in round one with recent Toronto quarter-finalist Mackenzie McDonald. The Canadian did win their lone tour-level meeting last year on grass in Halle.

If he beats the American, Auger-Aliassime would play either Hugo Dellien or Borna Gojo in the second round, with a potential fourth third-round meeting in 2023 with Francisco Cerundolo looming. Djokovic is his projected fourth-round opponent.

Read also: Tennis BC Showcasing Opportunities in Tennis With Girls. Set. Match.

On the women’s side, 2021 runner-up Leylah Annie Fernandez will have her hands full with No. 22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round. They have split their two previous meetings.

Fernandez could meet Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in round three, with a possible third meeting at a Slam this year with Caroline Garcia looming in round four. She is in the same quarter as third seed and National Bank Open champion Jessica Pegula and is in the bottom half of the draw with No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, a potential semifinal opponent.

Rebecca Marino arguably has the easiest first-round match-up of the four Canadians competing in singles. She faces Patricia Maria Tig, ranked 700 in the world, in the first round, but would likely play Pegula in round two.

There was nearly a Clash of Canadians on the cards. Fernandez could have met Bianca Andreescu in the second round, but the 2019 US Open champion withdrew on the weekend.

Read also: Naomi Xu and Scarlett Nicholson at the Repentigny National Bank Junior Tennis Championships

In the doubles, French Open runners-up Fernandez and Taylor Townsend are seeded sixth and face Olivia Center and Kate Fakih in the first round. Their first seeded opponents could be No. 11 Latisha Chan and Zhaoxuan Yang.

The possibility of an all-Canadian quarter-final in the women’s doubles exists if Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe, seeded 16th, can get past the top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the third round. Dabrowski and Routliffe open against Lauren Davis and Anastasia Detiuc.

Women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek faces a gauntlet if she is to defend her title. She could face Coco Gauff, who just beat her on her way to the Cincinnati title, in the quarter-finals followed by No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina, who has beaten her all three times they’ve played in 2023, in the semifinals.

Carlos Alcaraz will also have his hands full if he is to defend his maiden major title. He could meet Toronto champion Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals, a repeat of the 2022 epic in New York, followed by 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in the semis.

Under the Radar:

Rebecca Marino did her final US Open preparation at the WTA 125 event in Chicago, but lost in the first round to fifth seed Lucia Bronzetti.

On the ITF Tour, Canada’s Marina Stakusic reached the quarter-finals of a W25 event in Vigo, Spain, beating countrywoman Bianca Jolie Fernandez and then upseting the top seed Kristina Dmitruk in the second round before losing in the last eight.

More national championships were taking place in Canada last week with the Under 12 and Under 16 titles being handed out, as well as a huge group of trophies at the Steve Stevens Masters Championships for 30 and over.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.