Photo : Gyles Diaz/Tennis Canada
By Max Gao
The stage is set at Sobeys Stadium for the 2022 National Bank Open presented by Rogers, with eight qualifiers booking their place in this year’s star-studded main draw on Sunday.
A semifinalist in Toronto three years ago, Marie Bouzkova, the No. 1 seed in the qualifying draw, battled past No. 15 seed and recent Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria, 7-5, 6-3. The Czech No. 4, who reached her career-high ranking of No. 46 in the world after winning her first WTA title in Prague last month, will be making her third main-draw appearance at this event and will be a dangerous floater this week.
No. 8 seed Tereza Martincova survived a stern test from 17-year-old Canadian wildcard Marina Stakusic, dashing the hopes of the home crowd with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 victory. Martincova, who has largely struggled to find consistency all season apart from a semifinal run in Nottingham, will be looking to use the momentum from qualifying to kickstart her North American hardcourt swing. Stakusic’s loss means that there will be five Canadian women in the singles draw: 2019 National Bank Open and U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu, former U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Annie Fernandez, and wilcards Rebecca Marino, Carol Zhao and Katherine Sebov.
In the first match of the day on Court 1, No. 7 seed Ajla Tomljanovic recovered from a set down to defeat No. 11 seed Harriet Dart, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. After splitting the first two sets, Tomljanovic, who equaled her career-best quarterfinal finish at Wimbledon earlier this summer, found herself down an early break, but she quickly reeled off six games in a row to return to the main draw of the Canadian Open.
In the biggest upset of the day, Cristina Bucsa knocked out No. 2 seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz, 6-4, 6-3, earning her first win against her countrywoman in three meetings. She will make her main draw debut this week in Toronto.
Other winners on the final day of qualifying include No. 4 seed Madison Brengle, who outsmarted compatriot Christina McHale, 6-3, 6-2; American Asia Muhammad, who upset No. 12 seed Donna Vekic, 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-1; Australia’s Storm Sanders, who edged out American Lauren Davis, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; and No. 10 seed Claire Liu, who breezed past Australia’s Ellen Perez, 6-3, 6-0, after surviving a scare against Canada’s Victoria Mboko.
Vekic and Parrizas Diaz later got into the main draw as lucky losers after Victoria Azarenka and Shelby Rogers withdrew.
Main draw action begins tomorrow at 11 a.m., with 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep set to headline the day session.