Montrealer Gabriel Diallo will be looking for his first title at the ATP Challenger level Sunday when he faces sixth-seeded Juncheng Shang of China in the final at the $50,000 National Bank Granby Challenger.
Diallo, a 20-year-old senior at the University of Kentucky, continued his string of upsets Saturday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Hiroki Moriya of Japan. Shang, who is only 17, advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over qualifier Aidan Mayo of the U.S. and hasn’t lost a set this week.
School commitments have limited Diallo’s opportunities to play tournaments but his recent experiences should provide him with confidence when he launches his professional career next summer.
After reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA championships and earning All-American recognition, he won a $25,000 ITF tournament in Michigan in June. He won a round of qualifying at the National Bank Open and won his first-round match at the $100,000 Odlum Brown ATP Challenger in Vancouver.
His went into the National Bank Open ranked No. 665 and his win Saturday boosted him to No. 382 in the ATP live rankings.
Top-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia won the inaugural WTA 250 National Bank Championships of Granby Saturday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over ninth-seeded Daria Gavrilova Saville of Australia.
Saville came back from a break down to get on serve at 5-4 in the opening set, but Kasatkina broke the Aussie for a third time in the following game. Kasatkina finished the first set with two more winners and five fewer unforced errors than Saville.
In the second set, Saville fought back from a break down on two separate occasions. At 5-4, Saville played superb defence to save four match points. But the lengthy rallies took their toll on Saville, and Kasatkina eventually prevailed on her fifth championship point, wrapping up the 14-minute final game. It was her second title this month. She won at San Jose to move back into the top 10.
Kasatkina earned US$19,750 while Saville collected $11,000.