Peliwo and Schnur also set to compete in the main draw
The list of players for the fourth edition of the $75,000 Drummondville National Bank Challenger was unveiled on Wednesday. The tournament will be played from March 10-18 at the René-Verrier indoor tennis club in Drummondville.
There will be two Canadian players among the tournament’s top seeds this year as Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver, BC) and Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC) are set to play in Drummondville. Pospisil, currently ranked world no. 83, has had a successful start to the year, claiming two Challenger titles, which has allowed him to climb back into the Top 100. This will be the Canadian’s first time playing in Drummondville. He won the singles title in 2012, was the runner-up in 2013 and won the doubles title in 2008 when the tournament was held in Rimouski. Auger-Aliassime, currently ranked world no. 167, will be joining Pospisil in the main draw as the tournament’s seventh seed. The 17-year-old had a breakout season in 2017 where he won his first Challenger title, becoming the seventh youngest player in history to capture an ATP Challenger title. He went on to claim his second title just a few weeks later, writing his name in the history books once again by becoming the third player in history to win multiple Challenger titles by the age of 17. A wildcard recipient at last year’s tournament, Auger-Aliassime reached the semi-finals where he lost to his good friend and fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
Filip Peliwo (Vancouver, BC) and Brayden Schnur (Pickering, ON), ranked world no. 184 and no. 203 respectively, will round out the Canadian contingent in the main draw. Peliwo had a stellar 2017 season which saw him take home an impressive seven singles titles, including his first career Challenger title. Schnur moved up over 200 ranking sports over the course of the past year, allowing him to break into the Top 200 for the first time in his career. Currently slated to play in the qualifying draw, Frank Dancevic and Samuel Monette could be two potential wildcard recipients.
“Our Canadian players have experienced tremendous success in the past year and they will look to continue their strong play in Drummondville this March. Having eight players present in the main draw, including the four tournament wildcards, is quite an accomplishment for Canadian tennis,” stated Tournament Director Richard Quirion. “As we have witnessed in recent years, this tournament is an important stepping stone in the careers of many of our athletes. They have had great experiences playing in Drummondville and are eager to come back each year.”
There will be a strong American contingent present in Drummondville, led by Denis Kudla, the tournament’s eighth seed. He achieved a career-high ranking of world no. 53 after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2015, notably eliminating Pablo Cuevas and Alexander Zverev. Kudla will be joined by his compatriot and one of the tallest players on the tour, Reilly Opelka. The 20-year-old, who stands at an impressive 6’11”, has had a strong start to the season, reaching the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach last week, where he defeated the top seed and defending champion Jack Sock. Fans in Drummondville will also want to keep an eye on the young Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis. Currently ranked world no. 199, the 21-year-old propelled himself to no. 65 in what was a breakout season in 2015. Australian John-Patrick Smith will be also making a return to Drummondville, he who was crowned champion in the inaugural year of the tournament in 2015.
The Drummondville National Bank Challenger is part of the group of tournaments sponsored by National Bank, a group that includes combined events in Granby and Gatineau as well as a men’s Challenger in Calgary and two women’s Challengers in Saguenay and Winnipeg.
The Drummondville National Bank Challenger is the final stop in a series of three tournaments held in Quebec during the months of February and March. The tournament is preceded by the Gatineau Futures presented by Turpin Group, National Bank Financial and the Subaru Sherbrooke Futures presented by Énergie 106.1.
*Feature photo: Jean-Samuel Gauthier