Canada’s Philip Bester advanced to the second round of qualifying action after a jam-packed opening day at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. The 27-year-old led a contingent of nine Canadians who hit the courts on Saturday, vying to qualify for a spot in the main draw of the tournament.
Bester’s opening match came against fellow Canadian Kelsey Stevenson. Bester cruised past the Canadian alternate 6-2, 6-2 in an easy 51 minutes to reach the final round of qualifying. The Vancouver resident recorded six aces, and only registered one double fault en route to his first-round win.
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Bester was originally set to play Japan’s Yuichi Sugita but was forced to re-adjust at the last minute, as Sugita received word that he was to be called up as an alternate to the main draw, due to the late withdrawal of Albert Ramos-Vinalos. A foot injury for the Spaniard resulted in Stevenson, a 26-year-old from Toronto, filling in.
Canadian wild card Benjamin Sigouin was also in action bright and early Saturday morning. He took on Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia. Gonzalez topped the 17-year-old 7-6(2), 6-4 in a close duel. The loss ends the Junior Davis Cup champion’s run at Rogers Cup and sets up Gonzalez’s second-round match against Bester. The winner of Sunday’s match gains entry into the tournament’s main draw.
Another Canadian up-and-coming junior, Felix Auger-Aliassime, took part in the qualifying action as well. The 15-year-old from Montreal fell in two hard-fought sets to Australia’s James Duckworth. The No. 14 seed advanced past Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 7-6(3). In other Canadian qualifying results, hometown junior Jack Mingjie Lin of Markham, Ont. fell to No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek of the United States 6-1, 6-3 and Pavel Krainik of Toronto was defeated 6-2, 6-0 by Mischa Zverev.
Later in the day, 17-year-old Canadian wild card Christian Lakoseljac took on Jared Donaldson. The American No. 9 seed took down Lakoseljac 6-1, 6-1. Brayden Schnur capped off the Canadian action on qualifying Saturday, fresh off turning pro. He put up a strong fight, but fell to No. 2 seed Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6(6).
Qualifying action continues on Sunday. Be sure to check back here for all the updated draws and results.