Photo : Sarah-Jäde Champagne
As announced last December, Fredericton, New Brunswick will host for the first time the Graystone ITF Challenger Driven by Volvo, which will take place from March 16 to 22 on the indoor courts of the Abony Tennis Family Tennis Center. The complete player list for the tournament, which offers $25,000 USD in prize money, was released on Wednesday.
“We are excited to witness the first edition of the Fredericton Challenger,” stated Gavin Ziv, Vice-President, Professional Events at Tennis Canada. “Tennis fans in Fredericton will have the chance to see some high quality tennis as the tournament will feature rising Canadians stars, experienced players who have been among the world’s elite as well as a number of other young players who are on the rise.”
Leading the Canadian contingent will be Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON), who is set to be one of the top seeds at the tournament. The 21-year-old is currently ranked no. 267 in the world after having cracked the Top 200 (no. 192) for the first time last October. So far in her young career, Sebov has had a lot of success playing on Canadian soil. In fact, she won her first professional title at the 2018 Saguenay National Bank Challenger. She had also reached the final at the Granby Challenger in 2017 and was a finalist in Saskatoon last year.
Françoise Abanda (Montreal, QC) will also be competing in the main draw thanks to her ranking of no. 308 in the world. Since the start of the season, the Montreal native has moved up close to 50 spots in the rankings after having reached the semi-finals of a $100,000 USD Challenger as well as the quarter-finals at two tournaments which offer $25,000 USD in prize money. Abanda, who reached a career-high ranking of no. 111 in 2017, will be looking for her fourth title on the ITF Circuit and her first since 2016.
The four Wild Cards have been awarded to a group of young Canadians, as Mélodie Collard (Gatineau, QC), Anabelle Xu (Montreal, QC), Mia Kupres (Edmonton, AB) and Ariana Arseneault (Richmond Hill, ON) will all compete in the main draw.
“From the beginning, we have been mindful of the important significance of this international event being hosted here at the AFTC, but seeing the representation of so many different countries makes all of the hard work worthwhile,” stated Tournament Director Rufus Nel. “This will be the first time we will have a professional tennis event in Fredericton, and the city and tennis fans can’t wait to see high level players competing here in Fredericton.”
There are six Top 300 players slated to take part in the tournament, notably Océane Dodin, who will be the top seed. In 2017, the 23-year-old French player was a member of the Top 50 after having won her first WTA title at the National Bank Cup in Quebec City. Dodin has notched numerous wins on the WTA tour since the start of 2020. In fact, she reached the quarter-finals at a tournament in St-Petersburg, defeating former world no. 14 Johana Konta along the way. She also recently reached the quarter-finals at the WTA tournament in Lyon, eventually falling to Sofia Kenin.
Robin Anderson will be another player to watch out for in Fredericton. The 26-year-old American has had some recent success playing on Canadian soil, having notably reached the final of the $60,000 USD Saguenay National Bank Challenger last fall. With her current ranking of no. 196, she is set to be the tournament’s second seed and will be looking to capture her third career title on the ITF Circuit.
Click here to consult the complete player list.
(Feature photo: Sarah-Jäde Champagne)