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Diallo goes from wild card to tennis champion in Granby National Bank Championship

Diallo goes from wild card to tennis champion in Granby National Bank Championship

GRANBY, Que. — Gabriel Diallo entered the Granby National Bank Championship to gain some experience for down the road.

It’s safe to assume the 20-year-old Montreal athlete is a quick learner.

On Sunday, the 6-foot-7 wild-card entry won his first title on the ATP Challenger Tour, upsetting the sixth-seeded Juncheng Shang in the tense final 7-5, 7-6(5).

With the win, Diallo jumps 183 spots in the ATP rankings to a new career-high of No. 335 in the world.

In the championship final, Diallo played extremely well behind his serve — even though he failed to serve out the match up 6-5 in the second set. The Canadian kept 70 per cent of his first serves in play, winning 76 per cent of those points and delivering 10 aces. He also attacked Shang’s second serve, winning 63 per cent of those points.

Diallo would only lose one point on serve in the second-set tiebreaker and managed to clinch the title with a mini-break on Shang’s final serve.

Diallo began his unexpected championship run on Wednesday, defeating compatriot Dan Martin in the opening round 7-5, 6-1. He then won thrillers against Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2)) and Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia (3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5)), before cruising past Hiroki Moriya in the semifinal 6-3, 6-4 and earning a date to play Shang on Sunday.

Shang, also had a terrific week in Granby. The 17-year-old player didn’t drop a set in reaching the final. He beat Canadian Marko Stakusic (6-4, 6-4), Americans Coline Markes (6-2, 6-2) and Aidan Mayo (6-3, 6-4), as well as world No. 103 Jordan Thompson of Australia (7-5, 6-4).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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