Polansky advances, rain interrupts Day 1 of Rogers Cup main draw in Toronto

Canadian Peter Polansky

TORONTO — Canadian Peter Polansky advanced to the second round of the Rogers Cup on Monday before heavy rain delayed play for more than two hours, putting a damper on the first day of the main draw.

Polansky, a wild-card entry playing in the morning, defeated Matthew Ebden of Australia 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Rainfall moved into the area of the York University campus in the northern part of Toronto just before 3 p.m. ET, interrupting three matches, including one in the third set between 13th-seeded American Jack Sock and Daniil Medvedev of Russia.

Canadian teens Denis Shapovalov, who rose to prominence with a stellar performance at last year’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, and Felix Auger-Aliassime had their centre court doubles match against Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson moved to the grand stand because of the lengthy delay.

No. 30 Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., was scheduled to start the night draw on centre court against 10th seed David Goffin of Belgium with Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil’s first-round match against Croatia’s Borna Coric following.

Polansky, also from Thornhill, squeaked out a victory in his first set against Ebden by winning the tiebreak 7-3. He was 2-8 in tiebreaks at Masters tournaments before Monday’s win.

Polansky said the victory gave him a boost heading into the second.

“It was actually really big. He was serving great and I wasn’t expecting to go up by so much early on, I think I was up 4-2 or 5-2,” he said.

“I thought there would be more pressure on my service points because he was holding so easily. It was big to get that tiebreak and get the momentum and take the lead early on to put pressure on in the second set.”

The 30-year-old Polansky, who is ranked No. 121 in the world, also took a close second set, which had plenty of back-and-forth action including a seventh game with seven deuces before Polansky held serve.

“I think if I got broken there, the momentum would have turned just in his favour quite a bit but, obviously, I would have stayed in the match,” Polansky said.

Polansky finished the match with six aces to Ebden’s 12, who is ranked 52nd.

But Polansky won 83 per cent of his first-serve points and 62 per cent off his second serve.

Edben had defeated Polansky is two prior matchups, including in the first round of the Rogers Cup in 2012 and at the Memphis Open last year.

Polansky will face winner of a match between 10th-ranked and four-time Rogers Cup winner Novak Djokovic and Hyeon Chung of South Korea.

Polansky has never advanced past the second round of the Rogers Cup.

In other men’s first-round action, Benoit Paire of France downed Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-4 and Ilya Ivashka of Belarus defeated Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-2, 6-3.

Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime are also part of the singles main draw at the tournament. Both play their first-round matches Tuesday.

Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., said Sunday that he wanted to play doubles to compete with the 17-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who was his doubles partner on the junior circuit years ago.

“We don’t get too many chances to play together, especially in the last couple months or even years so I’m really happy to be back on the court with him,” the 19-year-old said.

Shapovalov, ranked No. 26, is the top Canadian on the men’s singles draw. He was No. 143 before last year’s Rogers Cup.

Auger-Aliassime, a Montreal native who will turn 18 on Wednesday, is No. 134. He will make his Rogers Cup main draw debut Tuesday.

“There’s obviously nerves but I think good nerves,” Auger-Aliassime said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. “It’s exciting.”

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press