Marina Stakusic is the only Canadian to win her first round of qualifiers at the National Bank Open in Toronto.
The Mississauga native defeated Xinyu Wang of China after the Chinese player retired due to injury in the second set.
Stakusic was not granted a wild card into the qualifiers but had to do it the hard way.
That came with some benefits.
“I actually had to play the pre qualifiers, so I think that really helped me because I kind of got in like match mode” says the Canadian teenager. “I played three tough matches on these courts so it really helped me a lot to be less nervous.
“I think that was like the main point … as to why I wasn’t so nervous today.”
Being able to overcome those nerves is crucial, especially when playing in front of a home crowd and makes the experience much better, she believes.
“I never played in front of such a big crowd. I had a lot of people from my family come and stuff like that so I think that helps like it was really fun.”
Having this experience on home soil in a tournament she attended many times as a child was something she will not forget any time soon.
“It’s really special to play, especially in Toronto, this is where I grew up I played at this club for like many years, so it’s really cool to finally be playing the tournament.”
Stakusic will now face 73rd ranked player in the world Tereza Martincova hoping to make the main draw.