BOUCHARD AND FICHMAN TO DUEL FOR TEVLIN CHALLENGER TITLE
First time in tournament history the final will feature two Canadians
Toronto, November 3, 2012 – Eugenie Bouchard (Westmount, Que.) and Sharon Fichman (Toronto) will face off against each other for the Tevlin Challenger trophy after both secured their place in the championship match with semifinal victories at the $50,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournament at Rexall Centre in Toronto on Saturday.
No. 4 seed Bouchard ousted the event’s top seed, American Maria Sanchez, 7-5, 6-2. Sanchez gave Bouchard her best test of the week so far, as she captured more games off Bouchard than the Canadian’s first three opponents combined, but the 18-year-old was able to maintain her strong play to advance into her second consecutive final. She also was one of the last two women standing at the $50K Saguenay National Bank Challenger last week, but ultimately settled for the runner-up position with a loss to American Madison Keys.
“Today was definitely the toughest match,” said Bouchard, who has won three ITF Pro Circuit titles in 2012, including the $25K Granby Challenger. “Sanchez is the first seed of the tournament so she’s ranked better than me. But I knew if I put pressure on her, especially on her forehand a bit – she hits it with a lot of spin so I was really trying to take that early and I think when I did that I did well. I definitely want to do better than last week, and I’m really looking forward to playing tomorrow and hopefully winning.”
Fichman, whose two 2012 singles titles came at the $50K Waterloo Challenger and a $25K Romanian event, showed no ill effects from her rollercoaster three-hour quarter-final battle on Friday. She earned a spot in her sixth final of the season with a 7-6(1), 7-5 triumph over No. 3 Jessica Pegula of the United States. Up 4-1 in the first set, the No. 5 seed withstood a comeback attempt from Pegula and was able to dominate the tiebreaker. Fichman illustrated her own fighting talents in the second set as she twice came back from a break down to ultimately clinch the win in straights and reach the final of her hometown tournament for the first time.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Fichman said of playing at home. “I was in the semifinals a few years ago and I sprained my ankle really badly in the doubles final and had to pull out of the semifinals the next day, so I’m glad I got be in the semis and play here. It’s so nice, I know so many people in the crowd, and I get to stay at home and be with my family and it means a lot to me. It’s really nice when you have that support and that comfort of being home, so I’m very excited.”
Bouchard has won both of the two finalists’ previous meetings, as she eliminated Fichman in the quarter-finals at Saguenay just last week, and in the first round at the Granby Challenger in July.
“This will be the third time in a short while that I’ve played Sharon, and I want to do the same as I did last week,” Bouchard said. “I was pretty aggressive and she’s playing aggressive now too, so I think it will be a good match, with both of us trying to go for it, but I’m pretty confident in my shots.”
Sunday’s final will take place at 12 noon ET at the Centre of Excellence, Tennis Canada’s indoor tennis courts at Rexall Centre in Toronto. In what will be the tournament’s first all-Canadian final, Bouchard and Fichman will fight to become the Tevlin Challenger’s second homegrown champion after Aleksandra Wozniak (Blainville, Que.) won the inaugural event in 2005. Fans are encouraged to visit, and admission is free. For the complete draws and order of play, please click here.