Photo: Martin Sidorjak
The “golden era” of Canadian tennis is very much on display this October.
Between the strong results last week and a heavy schedule for the nation’s top players this coming week, the Canadians are everywhere on the ATP, WTA, Challenger and ITF tours this month.
And they will be hoping to contribute positively to the cavalcade of upsets, particularly on the WTA Tour, that has been taking place since the US Open.
Here’s what you need to know.
In Case You Missed It: Semi for Shapo, Świątek is mortal after all
Denis Shapovalov will likely be sad there is no Masters 1000 event in Asia this year since he has been playing some of his best tennis in the far east in 2022.
A week after reaching the final of the Korea Open, Shapovalov reached the semifinals of the ATP 500 event in Tokyo. He advanced to the final four without dropping a set, including a comprehensive straight-sets victory over Cincinnati champion Borna Coric.
Eventual Tokyo champion Taylor Fritz ended Shapovalov’s run in a thrilling three-set semifinal.
By winning the Japan Open Tennis Championships, Fritz entered the Top 10 in the ATP rankings for the first time. Casper Ruud was the top seed in Tokyo, but was upset in his first-round match by Jaume Munar
In the biggest shock of the week, women’s world No. 1 Iga Świątek had her stunning finals dominance broken when she was beaten in three sets in the final of the WTA 500 event in Ostrava by Barbora Krejcikova.
Coming into the final, Świątek had won 10 straight finals and 20 sets in finals, with both streaks dating back to her lone previous title-match defeat in Lugano in 2019.
She stretched the sets streak to 21 by taking the opening set 7-5 over Krejcikova before the home favourite turned the tables and won the next two to score her second title in as many weeks.
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard qualified for the main draw in Ostrava and put up a good fight against sixth seed Belinda Bencic, even winning the first set before eventually falling in 6-4 in the third.
Bouchard and Shapovalov were the only two Canadians competing on the main tours last week.
Despite the loaded field, upsets were the name of the game in Ostrava. Krejcikova’s title capped off an event where Świątek was the lone seed to reach the quarter-finals despite a field that included Top 10 players Anett Kontaveit, Paula Badosa and Maria Sakkari.
Novak Djokovic booked his place at the ATP Finals last week with a title at the ATP 500 event in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Serb assured his place in Turin by guaranteeing a Top 20 finish in the race, which was enough since he is a Grand Slam winner in 2022.
The Serb emerged from a loaded field in Astana, defeating Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev (via retirement) and Stefanos Tsitsipas all in a row to claim the title.
Carlos Alcaraz was the top seed, but the teen continues to struggle since ascending to the No. 1 ranking, losing in the first round to David Goffin. It was Alcaraz’s first ATP Tour match as the world No. 1 and he holds a 1-2 record overall since taking over the top spot, including two Davis Cup matches.
Elise Mertens won the inaugural event in Monastir, Tunisia, beating Alize Cornet in the final. Home favourite Ons Jabeur was the top seed but was upset in the quarter-finals by Claire Liu.
Despite not playing last week, Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski booked her place at the WTA Finals in doubles alongside Giuliana Olmos. The pair are the second team to qualify for the finals.
What to Watch: Canadians invade San Diego, Félix in Florence
If you are wondering where to find the members Canada’s Billie Jean King Cup team this week, keep an eye on the WTA 500 event in San Diego.
Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Annie Fernandez are both competing in singles this week, while Rebecca Marino, Carol Zhao, and Gabriela Dabrowski are all competing in doubles. Those five women will be representing Canada next month at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Glasgow.
In the doubles, Zhao and Marino are playing together, while Dabrowski is seeded second alongside Giuliana Olmos.
Andreescu is already up and running in the singles, having beaten Liudmila Samsonova in three sets on Monday night. She could meet sixth seed Coco Gauff in the second round and a potential showdown with world No. 1 Iga Świątek looms in the quarter-finals.
The draw gods were cruel to Fernandez. She opens against world No. 11 Daria Kasatkina and would meet Madison Keys in round two with a potential quarter-final against world No. 6 Jessica Pegula on the horizon.
Seven of the world’s Top 10 women’s players are competing in San Diego.
Eugenie Bouchard is competing in the WTA 250 event in Cluj-Napoca, Romania this week. She will meet Anhelina Kalinina, the second seed but the highest-ranked player in the draw, in the first round.
Félix Auger-Aliassime is the lone Canadian man competing on the ATP main tour this week. He is the top seed at the ATP 250 event in Florence, Italy and will meet Oscar Otte, a potential Davis Cup opponent next month when Canada meets Germany, in his opening match.
He is in the same quarter as eighth seed Brandon Nakashima and same half as third seed Lorenzo Musetti. Another Italian, Matteo Berrettini, is the second seed.
The last event on the schedule this week is in Gijon, Spain and features Andrey Rublev and National Bank Open champion Pablo Carreno Busta.
Under the Radar: Strong Challenger Runs for Pospisil, Galarneau
Last week was a strong one for the Canadians on the ATP Challenger Tour, with Davis Cup team members Vasek Pospsil and Alexis Galarneau both making runs.
Pospisil reached his third ATP Challenger Tour final of 2022 in at the Open de Vendée, losing to Jelle Sels in straight sets. The Canadian beat two of the top three seeds on his way to the final.
Alexis Galarneau reached his third ATP Challenger semifinal last week in Tiburon, California. By reaching the final four, Galarneau climbed to a new career-high ranking of No. 226 in the world.
It was a strong week for the Canadians at all levels of professional tennis, with Benjamin Sigouin adding to the success with a doubles title at the ITF M15 event in Ithica, New York.
Both Galarneau and Pospisil are competing again on the ATP Challenger Tour this week, as is their Davis Cup teammate Gabriel Diallo. There is also a huge contingent of Canadian women representing the home nation at the ITF W25 event this week in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.