Monday Digest: Raonic Headlines Beginning of Grass Season


While the dust settles in Paris, the moment Milos Raonic has been waiting for arrives as the grass season gets underway this week. 

Raonic leads a large contingent of Canadians competing on the lawns of Europe to kick off the grass swing. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

In Case You Missed It: Quiet Week Two in Paris 

With all the Canadians eliminated from the singles in the first week of Roland-Garros, the focus was on the doubles, wheelchair, and junior events. 

Leylah Annie Fernandez got to the third round of the women’s doubles with Erin Routliffe, but the pair were upset by Marta Kostyuk and Elena Gabriela Ruse. 

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Keegan Rice got into the boys singles draw as a qualifier and won his opening match over Atakan Karahan in straight sets but bowed out in round two against second seed Joel Schwarzler. In doubles, he and Czech partner Petr Brunclik were eliminated in the first round. 

Rob Shaw was competing in both the quad singles and doubles but failed to pick up a match win, losing his opening match in both events. 

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

What to Watch: Raonic Back on the Grass 

There is no shortage of Canadian content as the grass season gets underway properly on the main tours this week.  

Grass means the return of Milos Raonic, who last competed in Indian Wells back in March. He is competing at the ATP 250 event in s-Hertogenbosch, where he will play eighth seed Jordan Thompson in the Netherlands for the second year in a row. The missile from Thornhill would play either Roberto Bautista Agut or Marc Andrea Huesler in round two and could meet top seed Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals.  

Raonic made his return after an extended absence last year in s-Hertogenbosch and won his opening match before falling to Thompson in round two. 

Joining the Canadian veteran is Bianca Andreescu, who is competing on the women’s side in Holland. She faces Eva Vedder in the first round of the WTA 250 event and could play No. 6 seed Yue Yuan in round two. No. 4 Elise Mertens is her projected quarter-final opponent and Andreescu is in the top half of the draw with Jessica Pegula. 

Read also: Provincial and Territorial Tennis Associations Updates

Denis Shapovalov is already playing his second grass event of the year but first on the main tour as he is competing at the 250 event in Stuttgart.  

He plays qualifier Matteo Martineau in his opening match and would meet either eighth seed Roman Safiullin or former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini in round two. Second seed Ben Shelton could then be waiting in the quarter-finals. 

Two Canadian women are competing at the WTA 250 event in Nottingham. Rebecca Marino came through qualifying to reach the singles main draw and plays Viktorija Golubic in round one. She could meet third seed Katie Boulter in the second round. 

Gabriela Dabrowski makes her return in Nottingham, having skipped the entire clay season. She and Erin Routliffe are the top seeds at the Rothesay Open. 

Under the Radar: Big Win for Branstine 

For the second time in 2024, Carson Branstine has managed to win the biggest title of her career. 

After winning her first W35 in Monastir in January, the 23-year-old picked up her first W75 title last week in Sumter, South Carolina. 

Photo : @carsonbranstine

Branstine was unseeded and had to battle through multiple three-setters, capping off her run with a 7-6(6), 6-7(6), 6-1 win over American Sophie Chang to get her hands on her fifth ITF singles trophy. The Canadian also beat top seed Maria Mateas in straight sets in the semifinals. 

Two Canadians who spent their winters in the NCAA won their first ITF titles last week. 

Read also: Branstine Returns to Lead Texas A&M to NCAA Title

Taha Baadi, who finished the 2023-24 season as the top Canadian man in the singles rankings, won his first professional title last week at the M15 event in Santo Domingo.  

After beating eighth-seeded countryman Juan Carlos Aguilar in the first round in straight sets, he won back-to-back match tiebreaks, including in the quarter-finals over top seed Roberto Cid Subervi. From there, he did not drop another set, capping off the run with a win in the final over fourth seed Peter Bertran. 

Photo : @UKMensTennis

20-year-old Leena Bennetto won her first ITF title last week in the city where Branstine has had so much success, Monastir, Tunisia, claiming the W15 doubles title with Janice Tjen of Indonesia. 

The pair dropped the opening set of their first match but did not lose another for the rest of the tournament. It was just Bennetto’s third career ITF doubles event. Having made her professional debut in 2018, she only started playing ITF events for the first time since July of that year this past May. 

Read also: Farewell Serena – Remembering the 2022 National Bank Open

On the ATP Challenger Tour last week, Denis Shapovalov looked to get his grass season off to an early start at the event in Surbiton, UK. It was not the start he wanted, however, as he lost in the first round to Aleksandar Vukic. 

This week, it’s Gabriel Diallo’s turn to kick off his grass campaign at the Challenger event in Nottingham. 

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.  





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