The final of the Saguenay National Bank Challenger featured a Canadian player for the first time since 2016. On Sunday, Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON) was in the hunt for her first professional title, after having reached the final at the Granby National Bank Challenger in the summer of 2017. On her path to the final, the young Canadian was victorious in numerous tightly disputed matches and eliminated the tournament’s first and eighth seeds. Standing in the way of her milestone win was Quirine Lemoine of the Netherlands, who ousted Canadians Jada Bui (Ajax, ON) and Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) earlier in the tournament.
Both players were coming into Sunday’s final with a good amount of confidence, as they were playing some of their best tennis throughout the week. In the first set, after the players exchanged breaks before Sebov managed to get the edge and consolidate her break. Lemoine battled back late in the set to force a tiebreak, where it was the Canadian who came out with the lead. In the second, Sebov found herself serving for the match, but was unable to close it out while on serve. She was victorious in the tiebreak, claiming her first career title on the professional tour by a score of 7-6(10), 7-6(4).
After the match, Sebov recounted her emotional first title win. “I love playing in Canada and to win my first professional title playing in front of the home crowd is very special for me. I had a few tough matches this week, but I am very pleased with my victory today and I hope to continue my momentum for the conclusion of the season.”
With her win, Sebov becomes only the second Canadian player to win the title in Saguenay in the 13-year history of the tournament. Prior to this week, Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) was the lone Canadian champion, having lifted the trophy back in 2010. Sunday’s victory will propel Sebov to a new career high ranking, as she will hover just outside of the Top 200. She will be back in action next week at the Tevlin Challenger in Toronto.
*Feature photo: Valérie Simard