Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Abanda, Ostapenko Representing Younger Wave of Tennis Stars at Rogers Cup

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Abanda, Ostapenko Representing Younger Wave of Tennis Stars at Rogers Cup

Article excerpt

Abanda representing younger wave of tennis

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TORONTO - It wasn't long ago that Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko and Canadian Francoise Abanda were competing against each other on the junior tennis circuit.

Now regulars on the senior scene of the women's game, they're representing a younger crop of players at next week's Rogers Cup.

"A lot of good players born in 1997 are now on tour and it's really nice to see," Ostapenko said Friday following the Rogers Cup women's draw at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum.

"We all played in juniors together and now we're here. It's nice to see a new generation come up."

Ostapenko, who won the French Open this year to shoot up to No. 12 in the world, will play a qualifier in the first round of the Canadian tournament, which runs from Aug. 5-13 at Aviva Centre.

Abanda, who reached a career-high on the WTA rankings at No. 120 in July, will open against No. 41 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. The Montreal up-and-comer is competing in the main draw at a Rogers Cup for the fourth time.

"It's definitely a different vibe playing at the Rogers Cup," the 20-year-old Abanda said. "We have a lot of media, a lot of stuff to do off the court but it's great to have the crowd with us and it's a great atmosphere.

"Hopefully I can feed off the crowd."

Canada's top-ranked women's singles player, Eugenie Bouchard, will also have to wait until the weekend to find out who she will face in her first-round matchup next week.

The Westmount, Que., native, ranked 73rd in the world, faces a yet-to-be-determined qualifier with the winner moving on to a potential match against world No. 3 Angelique Kerber in the second round.

Bouchard is looking to improve on her 2016 finish at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, when she was eliminated by qualifier Kristina Kucova in the third round -- her best showing at the Canadian event. …

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