Tennis Canada announced Wednesday the list of players who will take part in the thirteenth edition of the Saguenay National Bank Challenger. Sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the tournament offers $60,000 USD in prize money and will be held from October 22 to 28 at the Saguenay Indoor Tennis Club.
Leading the Canadian contingent will be Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC). After stepping away from the game for over five years, the 27-year-old is in the midst of a successful comeback. She won three consecutive titles in Turkey to start the year and proceeded to be crowned champion at two more tournaments, at the Winnipeg Challenger in July and a tournament in Texas just a few weeks ago. Marino’s other accomplishments this year include a quarter-final appearance at the National Bank Cup in Quebec City as well as reaching the final round of qualifications at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. The Vancouver native has climbed back into the Top 200 after starting her 2018 campaign without a ranking. She will be playing in Saguenay for a sixth time, having been crowned champion in 2010 and reaching the doubles final in 2009 and 2010.
She will be joined in the main draw by compatriot Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON). Despite her young age, the Ontario native has already had a number of impressive performances on the professional circuit, with three singles and three doubles titles to her name. She had a career year in 2017, as she qualified for her first Grand Slam main draw at Wimbledon, reached the doubles final at the National Bank Cup and became the youngest Canadian player in 29 years to win a main draw match on the WTA tour in Washington, where she reached the quarter-finals. She has also had great results playing in Saguenay, as she reached the singles and doubles final in 2016 as well as taking home the doubles title last year.
For her part, Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON) will be competing in Saguenay for the second time in her career. In 2016, she reached the second round after having to qualify for the main draw. The 19-year-old is still looking for her first title on the professional circuit. She came close last year when she reached the finals at the Granby Challenger. Carson Branstine (Orange, CA), Jada Bui (Ontario) and Alexandra Vagramov (Port Moody, BC) have received wild cards into the main draw. The final recipient will be announced at a later date.
“Players come from all corners of the world in the hopes of winning this tournament. We have an impressive list of past champions who have all gone on to accomplish great things in their careers,” stated Tournament Director Francis Milloy. “Our Canadian players have especially had great success competing at this tournament. They love to play at home in front of the fans and are always thankful for the support that they receive here in Saguenay. The excellent atmosphere makes them want to come back year after year.”
On the international front, the tournament’s first seed, American Sachia Vickery, is currently ranked inside the Top 100. The 23-year-old recently reached the semi-finals of a Challenger in Chicago, which ultimately forced her to pull out of the National Bank Cup. She will be playing in Saguenay for a fourth time, with her best result coming in 2016 when she reached the semi-finals. Another name that fans might recognize is that of 2015 singles champion Jovana Jaksic of Serbia.
Click here to consult the full player list.
*Feature photo: Pascal Ratthé