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Home   News   ABANDA SET TO LEAD THE CANADIAN CONTINGENT AT THE SAGUENAY NATIONAL BANK CHALLENGER

ABANDA SET TO LEAD THE CANADIAN CONTINGENT AT THE SAGUENAY NATIONAL BANK CHALLENGER

Eight Top 200 players are entered in the main draw 

Montreal, October 9, 2014 – The players’ list for the ninth edition of the $50,000 Saguenay National Bank Challenger was unveiled on Thursday during a press conference at the Saguenay Indoor Tennis Club. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), will be held from October 18 to 26, 2014.

“The players’ list is very strong once again this year with a good mix of young and veteran players including eight players ranked inside the Top 200,” said Tournament Director Richard Quirion. “Tennis fans in the area will have the chance to watch rising Canadian star Françoise Abanda who has already made waves at some of the biggest tournaments in the world.”

Françoise Abanda (Montréal, QC) is the only Canadian to have earned direct entry into the main draw. Currently ranked no. 175 in the world, the 17-year-old has improved her ranking by more than 350 since the start of the season. She won her first professional title in January and really emerged this summer. She reached the final of the Gatineau Challenger and the semifinals in Granby. Abanda’s strong performances allowed her to be awarded a main draw wildcard for the Rogers Cup in Montreal where she took a set off Dominika Cibulkova in the opening round. A few weeks later in her Grand Slam debut at the U.S. Open, she won three qualifying matches and played a close match against Sabine Lisicki in the first round. Abanda will be joined in the main draw by four of her compatriots who will be given main draw wildcards.

Several international players will also be worth following including American Taylor Townsend who is slated to be the tournament’s top seed. The 18-year-old was the no. 1 ranked junior player in the word two years ago when she was just 16. Her transition to the pros has gone well and she is on the verge cracking the Top 100 for the first time. Townsend has already won two $50,000 Challengers this year and she also reached the third round at Roland-Garros after defeating  Alizé Cornet. Townsend will be joined seven other Top 200 players. Among them is world no. 120 Jovana Jaksic of Serbia. The 21-year-old reached her first WTA final in Monterrey in April before falling to her compatriot Ana Ivanovic. Also on the players’ list is Swiss Romina Oprandi who was ranked no. 32 in the world a little over a year ago and Czech Andrea Hlavackova who is a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion.

Throughout the years, the Saguenay National Bank Challenger has proven to be an important spring board for in the professional careers of many players. This was the case for both finalists in 2012, Eugenie Bouchard (Westmount, QC) and Madison Keys who are now ranked no. 6 and no. 32 in the world respectively. Germans Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki are among the players who have come through Saguenay on their way to becoming WTA stars.