If you don’t already know the name Françoise Abanda, get ready to start seeing it everywhere. The millennial tennis pro from Montreal is moving up the international rankings, and just qualified for Round 2 at the French Open, otherwise known as Roland-Garros.
First Grand Slam victory!
— Françoise Abanda (@franckie12345) May 29, 2017
Abanda soared through the qualifying rounds, winning six out of seven sets overall; she then went on to win both matches against France’s Tessah Andrianjafitrimo in the first round of the main draw. This is the first time she has qualified for the Roland-Garros.
Named a Canadian athlete to watch a few years back, Abanda’s game style and on-court demeanour have been likened to that of Venus Williams. “Venus was my idol growing up, I watched her and Serena all the time,” she told Sportsnet. Abanda is 0-1 against Venus in her career (for now!), having played her idol when she was just 17. She’s even developed a friendship with the famous sisters.
— Françoise Abanda (@franckie12345) August 25, 2014
Though Serena is not competing in this year’s French Open, having announced her pregnancy in April, Venus has also made it through to Round 2 of the competition.
Abanda, who was born and raised in Montreal, began playing at just seven years old. By 15, she was competing at the junior Wimbledon finals, and came within one set of making it an all-Canadian final against Eugenie Bouchard. Despite a nasty shoulder injury at 16 that kept her out for the better part of two years, and a back injury earlier this year, Abanda has two career ITF Pro Circuit titles under her belt, and is back at the top of her game.
One of just two Canadians competing in Women’s Singles at Roland-Garros, Abanda is in Paris alongside Bouchard, who plays her Round 1 set this Tuesday (May 30).
A post shared by Françoise Abanda (@franckie_abanda) on
Next round, Abanda is up against Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, who is currently ranked 11th overall in the world. They go head to head on Wednesday (May 31). If Abanda can secure the win, it will have be the furthest she’s advanced in a Grand Slam tournament, and Wozniacki will be the highest-ranked player Abanda has defeated in her career. We’ll be watching.