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Montreal’s Gabriel Diallo conquers nerves, Duckworth at National Bank Open

“This was the most important match of my profession and I am glad it was right here, as a result of I grew up on this neighbourhood and I have been coming to this match for years.”

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Gabriel Diallo mentioned he was nervous when he took the court docket for his first-round qualifying match on the Nationwide Financial institution Open Saturday, however it didn’t present because the 20-year-old Montrealer upset Australian James Duckworth 6-3, 7-6 at IGA Stadium.

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“This was the most important match of my profession and I’m glad it was right here, as a result of I grew up on this neighbourhood and I’ve been coming to this match for years, and I labored at this match within the stringing room once I was 15 and 16,” mentioned Diallo. “It was nice to have my household and pals watch me play right here.”

Diallo is a little bit of a late bloomer. He skilled on the Nationwide Coaching Centre till he was 15 after which moved to Quebec Metropolis to coach with Félix Auger-Aliassime’s father, Sam. As his junior profession neared its finish, he determined to go south and accepted a tennis scholarship on the College of Kentucky.

“It was a no brainer,” mentioned Diallo, including he wanted time to mature and develop into his 6-foot-7 body.

“I just like the coaches there and my teammates are nice, and it’s a possibility to get an excellent training,” mentioned Diallo, who will return to Kentucky to play and full a level in finance.

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He reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles championships in Might and helped Kentucky advance to the group last earlier than dropping to Virginia.

Diallo gained an ITF Futures occasion this 12 months in Michigan and has reached the ultimate at two different Futures occasions. He’s earned sufficient factors to achieve No. 665 within the ATP rating. His efficiency Saturday marked his first look and his play in opposition to Duckworth, who’s No. 59, signifies he can play at a excessive stage. Nerves apart, he confirmed a capability to boost his sport on key factors.

Diallo will play Hugo Gaston of France Sunday for a spot in the principle draw. Gaston, who’s No. 74, had a straightforward passage via the primary spherical when Michael Mmoh of the U.S. withdrew with an harm after falling behind 3-0 within the first set.

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Diallo was the one Canadian to achieve the second and last spherical of qualifying.

His Kentucky teammate Liam Draxl of Newmarket, Ont., misplaced to Taro Daniel of Japan 6-4, 6-2.

Daniel Altmaier, a German who’s ranked No. 79, had an excessive amount of expertise for Jaden Weekes, a 17-year-old from LaSalle. Weekes, who’s No. 21 within the Worldwide Tennis Federation junior rankings, displayed a robust serve-and-volley sport in his first ATP look. He intends to focus on professional occasions after wrapping up his junior profession this month on the Canadian Worldwide junior occasion in Repentigny and U.S. Open juniors in New York.

Juan Carlos Aguilar, who was born in London, raised in Montreal and attended college in Texas, pushed France’s Arthur Rinderknech to the restrict earlier than dropping 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. Aguilar performed Davis Cup for Bolivia, however has since switched his allegiance to Canada.

Canadian Davis Cup participant Steven Diez, a Toronto native who is predicated in Spain, was eradicated by Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 7-6.

Ontarian Kelsey Stevenson misplaced to Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 6-1.

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