Felix vs. Andy headlines US Open schedule for Day 2, featuring over half a dozen Canadians
Sports fans in Quebec and Canada looking to cheer on a local lad or lady can turn their attention away from Denver Nugget Jamal Murray, the Vancouver Canucks or Toronto Raptors for the afternoon and turn their attention to the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York.
Unfortunately, world No. 6 Bianca Andreescu will not be defending her stunning 2019 US Open championship win. She pulled out of the competition as she continues to recover from a knee injury suffered in October.
However, there are over half a dozen north-of-the-border racketeers ready to take a swing at a run in the first Grand Slam since pandemic restrictions were lifted.
Thursday is Day 4 of the US Open, and the Canadians in action include some of the nation's brightest up-and-comers from Quebec.
Hey all �� – in case you weren’t aware, it’s another HUGE day for Canadian tennis at the #USOpen.
12pm ET �� TSN4
���� Leylah Fernandez vs.  Sofia Kenin
12:30pm ET �� TSN3
����  Milos Raonic vs. ���� Vasek Pospisil
9pm ET �� TSN1
����  Félix Auger-Aliassime vs. Andy Murray pic.twitter.com/7OIoULRrE5
FELIX AND MILOS
On the men's side, the three highest-ranked names should be familiar to anyone who follows the sport in Canada, and two of them are in action Thursday.
In an all-Canadian Round 2 dual, No. 18-ranked Milos Raonic played world no. 94 fellow Canuck Vasek Pospisil from Vernon, BC.
Raonic was coming of a loss in the finals to No. 1 ranked Novak Djokovic at the ATP Masters 1000 in Cincinnati at the end of August, and regained some of the form he showed in the first half of the decade.
It was Pospisil, however, who got the better of his rival and won 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to advance to the next round.
Pospisil advances to Round 3 of the US Open for the first time in his career.
The world's No. 21-ranked player, 20-year-old Montrealer Felix Auger-Aliassime, plays one-time world No. 1 in 33-year-old Andy Murray tonight at 9 p.m.
It is a mouth-watering duo of next generation versus original Star Trek -- and the first time the two have met on the court.
The pressure will be on the now No. 115-ranked Murray (who won the US Open in 2012) and his surgically repaired hip to continue the form that saw him beat Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round in a five-set, four-hour marathon of a match.
Last year, Auger-Aliassime became the youngest Top 25 since Lleyton Hewitt in 1999, and he's considered one of the rising stars in the sport.
He knows, however, not to take Murray lightly.
“He's a great champion,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I'll be expecting the best from him. I don't want to put into my head or consider that because of the injuries or because of the surgeries he's had, the comeback he's made, that this puts me in an advantage or makes a difference on the outcome of the match. I'm going to prepare myself for a battle.”
LEYLAH FROM LAVAL
Do not let her 17 years of age, short stature or slight frame fool you: Leylah Annie Fernandez from Laval is fierce and fast and always keen to upset.
The 5'4" southpaw currently ranked No. 104 in the world, however, was not able to handle No. 4-ranked Sofia Kenin of the USA (who is ranked No. 2 at the US Open).
Fernandez lost 6-4, 6-3 to the 2020 Australian Open champion.
Fernandez was coming off her first career Grand Slam main-draw win when she beat No. 178 Russian Vera Zvonareva in straight sets Tuesday.
For the niche fans out there who prefer seeing four players rather than two on the court, Canada had a few potential viewing options.
On the women's side, Canadian Gaby Dabrowski and American Alison Riske beat Russians Natela Dzalamidze and Irena Khromacheva 6-3, 6-2 to advance.
Sharon Fichman from Toronto and Croatian Darija Jurak, however, lost to Czech Kveta Peschke and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands 6-2, 7-6.
World No. 17 Denis Shapovalov beat Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea Wednesday in singles' action, and will team up with India's Rohan Bopanna Thursday to take on American duo Ernesto Escobedo and Noah Rubin Thursday night.
*MARLENE JENNINGS, trustee at the English Montreal School Board
*RUSSELL COPEMAN, executive director of The Quebec English School Boards Association
*Josiane Blanc, Film maker, Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia