The women’s and men’s finals were held on Sunday at the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger. The tournament featured a mixed draw, with the men competing in the $75,000 Challenger event and the women in the $25,000 ITF Challenger event. The tournament was played at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club from July 7-15, 2018.
In the women’s final, Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) was taking on the tournament’s second seed, Julia Glushko of Israel. On route to Sunday’s final, the Canadian had to take on the seventh and eight seeds, coming back from a set down in both matches. For her part, Glushko had dominated most of her matches, never dropping a set against he opponents. In the opening set on Sunday, both players exchanged early breaks before settling down and tightening up their game. After a closely disputed 40 minutes of action, the set needed to be decided by a tiebreak. It was the Canadian who jumped out to the lead and took control of the play, ultimately taking the lead in the match.
Marino continued her momentum into the second set, as she went up an early break. Despite having a strong service game for the majority of the tournament, she struggled on serve in the final, as did her opponent. Glushko was not going to go down without a fight and managed to even out the score to force another tiebreak. The Canadian managed to overcome an early deficit to take the match by a score of 7-6(3), 7-6(4). This is her fourth title of the year.
“I’m extremely happy to win the title here in Winnipeg. To win a title on Canadian soil is always very special and for me this marks another milestone in my comeback,” said Marino after her the final on Sunday. “I’m excited to continue with the series of tournaments in Canada and hope to keep the momentum going through the rest of the summer.”
Marino’s last $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit title dates back to 2012 when she was crowned champion at a tournament in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She came close earlier this year in Japan, but was unable to take home the trophy. With her win on Sunday, Marino becomes the first Canadian singles champion at the Winnipeg Challenger. She will also see her ranking climb almost 100 spots as a result.
In the men’s final, Jason Kubler of Australia, the tournament’s fourth seed, was taking on Lucas Miedler of Austria. Despite his opponent being the favourite on paper to win, Miedler had gone on an impressive run this week in Winnipeg, notably eliminating the top seed, Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round. The world no. 319, however, was unable to overcome the challenge, as Kubler took home the title by a score of 6-1, 6-1.
The Winnipeg National Bank Challenger was the first of three mixed draw Challenger tournaments in Canada held during the month of July. The tournament will be followed by events in Gatineau and Granby.