The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are underway!
The athletes representing Canada’s tennis team are Félix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal, Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa, and Sharon Fichman of Toronto.
The small but mighty group hopes to bring home a shiny medal. The last Olympic tennis medal won by Canada was at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, when Daniel Nestor and Sebastien Lareau won the men’s doubles gold medal.
First up for Canada, the 18-year-old of Laval took on Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska. This was the first meeting between the two – both players playing in their first Olympic Games.
After a disappointing first-round exit at Wimbledon, Fernandez bounced back and defeated Yatrameska 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 in the opening round in Tokyo.
Fernandez was off to a strong start, putting pressure on the Ukrainian and dictating the majority of play.
The Canadian’s tenacious play paid off in the fifth game, as she earned the first break of serve.
Fernandez looked faster than the Ukrainian in the first set, which may have been caused by the lack of playing time Yastrameska had to overcome in 2021.
Earlier in the year, Yastrameska was suspended due to a doping violation – which was later overturned by the ITF. The suspension forced her to miss quite a bit of time. She played only three matches in 2021 compared to Fernandez’s 26.
However, Yastrameska was able to regain her rhythm halfway through the second set.
After going down 1-3, Yastrameska broke Fernandez’s next three serves and tied the match at one set apiece.
The Ukrainian did not carry over her momentum into the third set, as Fernandez came out firing on all cylinders.
Fernandez cruised her way to a 6-0 third set victory.
The Canadian will face the winner of Barbora Krejčíková of the Czech Republic and Zarina Diyas Kazakhstan in the second round.
Meanwhile, the all-Ontario duo Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman faced Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani of Brazil.
The pair fought hard and gave it their all but unfortunately fell short to the Brazilians 7-6(3), 6-4.
The Canadians converted on 2/5 break points compared to Pigossi and Stefani’s 3/6. It was the difference maker in today’s nail biter.
Tokyo 2020 was Fichman’s first Olympic Games and Dabrowski’s second.
Dabrowski will look to turn things around with her mixed doubles partner Auger-Aliassime.