January 20, 2014, Montreal (ISN) – Francoise Abanda (Montreal, QC) has captured her first career professional singles title after ousting fellow Canadian Heidi El Tabakh (Toronto) 6-3, 6-4 in the $25,000 Port St. Lucie final in Florida on Sunday.
Sixteen-year-old Abanda was able to capitalize more on her break point chances throughout the match than her countrywoman – clinching four of five compared to just two of nine for El Tabakh.
Both Abanda and El Tabakh earned their spots in the Port St. Lucie main draw by advancing through the qualifying tournament, meaning the No. 458-ranked Abanda won eight consecutive matches en route to the trophy.
A former junior world No. 4 and Junior Wimbledon semifinalist, Abanda now has both a singles and doubles ITF Pro Circuit crown on her resume. She took home the $50K Tevlin Challenger doubles title with American Victoria Duval in Toronto last November.
Bouchard and Nestor reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne
Two Canadians remain in contention as the second week of the Australian Open gets underway in Melbourne. Eugenie Bouchard (Westmount, QC), who became the first Canadian since Patricia Hy-Boulais in 1992 to reach a Grand Slam singles quarter-final, will face Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic at Rod Laver Arena in a rematch of their second round match at Wimbledon last year which Bouchard won 6-3, 6-3. With a win tonight, Bouchard would be the second Canadian in history to reach the semifinals at a Major, following in the footsteps of Carling Bassett who was a semifinalist at the U.S. Open in 1984.
Following the Australian Open Bouchard will return home to Montreal to play Canada’s Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first round tie against Serbia at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex on February 8 and 9.
Meanwhile in men’s doubles, Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON) remains undefeated in 2014. After winning titles in both Brisbane and Sydney, Nestor has advanced to the quarter-finals in Melbourne alongside his partner Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia thanks to a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory over the Polish team of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski. The will next take on the Australian pair of Alex Bolt and Andrew Whittington.
Nestor is also through to the quarter-finals in mixed doubles with Kristina Mladenovic. They will play Daniela Hantuchova and Leander Paes for a place in the semifinals.