Montreal native Francoise Abanda made her main draw Grand Slam debut at the US Open in Flushing, New York yesterday. The 17 year old lost in straight sets to No. 26 seed Sabine Lisicki, 6-3, 7-5.
“It was a great feeling to be playing my first Slam. I had a tough opponent but it was great for me to experience that this year at 17,” Abanda said on a conference call after the match.
After a tough first set, Abanda rebounded in the second and was actually serving leading 5-4 with a chance to serve into a third set.
“She didn’t play her best tennis and gave me a lot of opportunities but I didn’t take my chance. Against someone with that experience you have to capitalize on chances.”
Abanda needed to win three qualifying matches just to get into the main draw, and lost only four games in doing so. She says her main draw match at the Rogers Cup on center court against Dominika Cibulkova, in which she won a set, helped her.
“Definitely playing one of the biggest matches I’ve played in my career against a top 10 player, coming into US Open a lot more confident I knew what to expect,” she said. “I know it will help me in the future to play big matches.”
“Playing in Montreal, the crowd supported me through the whole match. A lot of adrenaline. Probably the biggest match in my career and it helped me to prepare for US Open.”
Abanda is still registered for the Juniors tournament at the US Open, but she is not sure if she will take part. She is focusing on the National Bank Cup, the WTA’s stop in Quebec City which gets underway September 8.
She says her goal for the rest of the year is to get WTA rankings points, which the junior events do not affect.
Apart from Abanda, Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Quebec also had her first round match against No. 31 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan. She lost 6-2, 6-1.
She has been complaining of a tired shoulder which has been affecting her forehand. She will be coming back to Montreal, according to Stephanie Myles, to have it evaluated.
It was a rough day for all Canadians as Sharon Fichman and Vasek Pospisil lost their opening round matches. Only Milos Raonic won his match. Pospisil will still have a chance in doubles with partner Jack Sock. They won the doubles crown at Wimbledon.
Westmount’s Eugenie Bouchard plays her first round match today at around 1:00 p.m.