The Next-Gen Canadians competing in the qualifying round of Rogers Cup are rife with talent and hold a brash ‘nothing to lose’ attitude that could carry them into the main draw.
Carson Branstine (CAN) vs. Donna Vekic (CRO)
Leading the pack is the American-born Carson Branstine, who’s eager to make a name for herself as a new Canadian. At just 16, Branstine has shown incredible promise in her tennis career. Along with doubles partner and friend Bianca Andreescu, Branstine won the junior doubles titles at both the 2017 Australian Open and French Open. The duo also made it to the junior Wimbledon quarter-finals. Branstine recently reached a career high No. 4 junior ITF ranking.
She will be facing an opponent that knows a thing or two about winning at a young age. Croatia’s Donna Vekic won her first ITF doubles and singles titles at just 15 years of age. Now at 21, she is starting to find her game as she has had a strong 2017 season. Vekic won the Nottingham Open in June, defeating No. 1 seed Johanna Konta.
Branstine vs. Vekic will be the fourth match of the day on Court 1.
Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN) vs. Risa Ozaki (JPN)
Robillard-Millette is a talented 18 year old from Blainville, QC who is looking to turn her success at the junior level into results as a professional. She was a singles quarter-finalist at the 2015 junior Australian Open and finished off the season as the No. 4 ranked junior ITF player. She has made two Fed Cup appearances, helping Canada win both ties. In April, she won her second career doubles title at the ITF $15K in Heraklion alongside partner and compatriot Carol Zhao.
It will be a tough match up for Robillard-Millette as she faces Japan’s Risa Ozaki. Ozaki has won six ITF titles and is the WTA’s No. 78 ranked player. Their Saturday match up will be the second of the day on Court 1.
Carol Zhao (CAN) vs. Veronica Cepede-Royg (PAR)
Carol Zhao is a former doubles junior Australian Open champion as she took home the title in 2013. The Richmond Hill native then continued her career at Stanford University as part of the varsity tennis team. Zhao helped Stanford win the 2016 NCAA championship. She has also had success on the ITF circuit. She is coming off a doubles title victory at the 2017 Granby National Bank challenger. Zhao and Australian partner Ellen Perez defeated the Canadian duo of Branstine and Andreescu in the semifinal on their way to victory.
— Ellen Perez (@EllenPerez95) July 29, 2017
Zhao faces Veronica Cepede-Royg of Paraguay. Cepede-Royg had her best Grand Slam finish in 2017, reaching the fourth round of the French Open.
Zhao and Cepede-Royg will play the fourth match on the National Bank Grandstand Court on Saturday.
Katherine Sebov (CAN) vs. Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
Katherine Sebov won her first junior singles title in 2013 at the ITF G4 in Vancouver. The Kleinberg, Ontario native has steadily improved since her debut season. She competed in the Fed Cup for Canada and ended the tie with a 4-0 record. As a result, Canada advanced to the World Group II playoffs.
She will face off against a unique athlete in Ashleigh Barty. The Australian has played both tennis and cricket at the professional level! Barty reached the women’s doubles final of the 2017 French Open.
Sebov and Barty will have the third match of the day on the National Bank Grandstand Court.
Although these young stars are facing tough opponents with more experience, they are all very capable of pulling off an upset. Just look at Bianca Andreescu’s quarter-final berth at the Citi Open as proof of what youth and determination can accomplish!