Sharon Fichman withdraws, Kimberley-Ann Surin falls at Tevlin Challenger

Tennis Canada

Tennis Canada

Canada was dealt some disappointment on the first day of main draw singles competition at the $50,000 Tevlin Challenger in Toronto on Tuesday as No. 5 seed Sharon Fichman was forced to pull out of her opening match with a knee injury. 

Fichman, also the top seed in the doubles draw alongside Chinese partner Sheng-Nan Sun, will still attempt to play her next doubles match at the Rexall Centre’s Centre of Excellence. She will have tomorrow off after receiving a walkover into the semifinals with the withdrawal of her quarter-final opponents, the injured Scarlett Werner of Germany and Austrian Nicole Rottmann. 

In a rare situation, Werner was also Fichman’s would-be singles adversary, which means two lucky losers slid in to take their places in the draw – Celine Cattaneo of France, who was defeated by Canadian Carol Zhao in the final round of qualifying, and Russian Nika Kukharchuk. 

With Fichman not being able to take the court, the only Canadian in singles action on Tuesday was Kimberley-Ann Surin. The 17-year-old fought hard against No. 8 seed Petra Rampre of Slovenia but the veteran was too much for Surin as she fell 6-2, 6-2. 

The tournament also lost its top player, as Croatian Mirjana Lucic dropped her opener 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist came out strong against Andreja Klepac to take the first set, but as the Slovenian upped her level of play, Lucic began crumbling and could not climb back into the match. 

Other results on the day include No. 2 Mandy Minella of Luxembourg reaching the second round with a 6-0, 7-6(7) victory over American Eleanor Peters and Russia’s Elena Bovina, former world No. 14, eliminating Sun 6-1, 6-4. 

In doubles, Marie-Eve Pelletier and Gabriela Dabrowski won their opening match 6-4, 6-1 against the Belarusian/Brazilian team of Viktoryia Kisialeva and Nathalia Rossi. The duo continued their streak of strong play, as they are coming off an appearance in the final of the $50,000 Saguenay Challenger in Quebec just last week. Dabrowski is the defending champion in Toronto, last year lifting the trophy with Fichman. 

A couple hours following her singles loss, Surin also partook in her opening doubles match with partner Elisabeth Abanda. It was a tough match for the two teenagers, as their opponents, Timea Babos of Hungary and America’s Jessica Pegula, were crowned Saguenay champions over the weekend. Surin and Abanda battled but ultimately dropped a 7-6(0), 6-0 decision. 

Tomorrow will be a busy day on the courts, as all six remaining Canadians play their first-round matches. Erin Routliffe and Zhao will open against each other in a match-up between Junior Fed Cup teammates before pairing up in doubles. Eugenie Bouchard, Abanda, Dabrowski, and Pelletier will all be in action as well.  Play begins at 10 a.m. and admission is free.

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