All-Canadian final in Florida

MELBOURNE – They might not be in Australia this week, but 16-year-old Françoise Abanda and veteran Heidi el Tabakh aren’t just sitting around.

The two Canadians have reached the final of a $25,000 pro event in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (spring-training home of the New York Mets, as its claim to fame). Continue reading

Bouch and the Douch let loose

MELBOURNE – While you’re waiting for that 3 a.m. wakeup call for Genie Bouchard’s fourth-round match against Aussie wild card Casey Dellacqua on Rod Laver Arena, here are some shots of her, and doubles partner Vera Dushevina (formerly spelled “Douchevina” but rarely now, because of, um, obvious reasons).

They crushed their first-round opponents here, and upset the No. 11 seeds Groenefeld and Lucic in the second round.

Ergo, “Bouch and the Douch” are born. Continue reading

Canadian juniors in Oz? None.

MELBOURNE – That’s a lovely shot of 16-year-old Françoise Abanda above – without a doubt Canada’s finest junior prospect.

She’s not here in Australia, though; her junior ranking is non-existent after missing most of 2013 because of a shoulder injury. And her WTA ranking isn’t quite high enough to get into junior events on that basis (you have to be in the top 350).

So she’s playing $25,000 professional tournaments in Florida at the moment (and is in the semifinals this week).

But if Abanda were here, she’d be all by her lonesome. Continue reading