Four semi-final spots were up for grabs on Friday at the Saguenay National Bank Challenger. Coming off a title win at a tournament in South Carolina, Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) was playing some good tennis heading into Saguenay. She was facing the third seed Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands. After dropping the opening set, Andreescu stormed back in the second with the help of the supportive crowd. She dug deep and capitalized on her opponent’s errors to complete the comeback. She booked her spot in the semi-finals with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory. The 2016 Saguenay finalist will be back in action on Saturday where she will take on Quirine Lemoine of the Netherlands. Earlier in the day, Lemoine defeated the second seed Conny Perrin of Switzerland by a score of 6-4, 7-5.
Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON) was hoping to join her compatriot in the semi-finals, but first she had to go through the tournament’s top seed Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine. Since getting off to a slow start in her opening round match, the young 19-year-old Canadian has been dominant in her following two matches, including Friday’s quarter-final. Sebov controlled play and overpowered the tournament favourite, taking the match by a score of 6-1, 6-1 in just under an hour. She totaled five aces and was consistent while on serve throughout the match. She will face the 15-year-old Dasha Lopatetskaya of Ukraine in Saturday’s semi-final. The young Ukrainian has made for herself throughout the tournament, first qualifying for the main draw and then defeating some of the top players, including the sixth seed Jessika Ponchet of France 7-5, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
This is the first time since 2010 that two Canadian players will be competing in the semi-finals in Saguenay. Eight years ago, Rebecca Marino and Heidi El Tabakh were both among the final four, with Marino winning her match. She then went on to claim the title. There were also two Canadians in the semi-finals in the inaugural year of the tournament in 2006 when Valérie Tétreault defeated Heidi El Tabakh before losing in the final to Angelique Kerber.
The duo of Sebov and Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria fell in the doubles semi-finals to the third seeds Conny Perrin and Tara Moore of Great Britain by a score of 6-3, 6-1.
*Feature photo: Valérie Simard