Polansky and Schnur fall in the second round
Of the four Canadians in action on Thursday, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov moved on to the quarter-finals at the $75,000 Drummondville National Bank Challenger which is being held until March 19 at the René-Verrier indoor tennis club in Drummondville.
In an all-Canadian second round match-up, Felix Auger-Aliassime (Montréal, QC) faced off against the tournament’s alternate second seed, Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON). Both players played a tight first set, until the young Montrealer was able to break his opponent at the halfway point. During the next service game, Polansky held a break point of his own, but was unable to convert. Auger-Aliassime tallied seven aces in the opening set, while Polansky struggled with his serve.
Auger-Aliassime had a strong start to the second set, breaking his opponent in the opening service game. The 16-year-old got his second break and took a commanding lead in the set. With Auger-Aliassime serving for the win, the 28-year-old Polansky broke back to stay in the match, but was unable to complete the comeback. After a little over an hour of play, the young Auger-Aliassime defeated his compatriot Polansky 6-3, 6-4.
Polansky, world no. 124, was an alternate in the tournament, as the second seed Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver, BC) was unable to play due to his successful run at Indian Wells.
Auger-Aliassime will play his quarter-final match against Alex de Minaur of Australia on Friday. The two previously met at last year’s junior Wimbledon quarter-final, where the Aussie got the best of the Canadian, winning 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-2.
Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) was also in action on Thursday, facing the tournament’s third seed Quentin Halys of France. Early in the first set, the Frenchman double-faulted, giving the Canadian his first break. After Halys took a medical timeout, Shapovalov consolidated his break with a strong service game. Once again, the third seed committed a double-fault, giving the young Canadian his second break of the set. In clear discomfort, Halys retired from the match. Despite the match lasting only 17 minutes, the Canadian was able to tally an impressive five aces in a short period of time. Shapovalov will be looking to make his third consecutive semi-final appearance, having reached the semi-final in Sherbrooke last week and winning the title in Gatineau in early March. He will face Blaz Rola of Slovenia in the quarter-finals on Friday.
In the final singles match of the day, Brayden Schnur (Pickering, ON) faced a tough opponent in Tim Puetz of Germany. In a tightly disputed first set, the players managed a break point each, keeping the match even. The opening set required a tie-break in which Puetz took control and won the set. In the second, Schnur was down by a break late in the match, but rallied to even the score and take the set to another tie-break. The Canadian fought to bring the match to a third set, but was unable to come away with the victory. Puetz moved on to the quarter-finals with a 7-6(2), 7-6(6) win over the Canadian Schnur.