Toronto, October 28, 2015 – Francoise Abanda and Heidi El Tabakh captured victories at the Tevlin Challenger at Aviva Centre on Wednesday to make it three Canadians in the second round of the $50,000 ITF Pro Circuit event, after Carol Zhao earned her spot a day earlier.
Abanda was a 6-2, 6-1 winner over 15-year-old Canadian qualifier Isabelle Boulais, who was competing in just her third professional main draw. Participating in her first event in over a month, Abanda was dominant in her return and will next face No. 8 seed Kristie Ahn of the United States.
“It was a good match, it was my first tournament back since Quebec City so I wasn’t fully match-ready,” Abanda said. “It was kind of like a comeback for me, so I was pleased with the way I played. I wasn’t at the peak of my game but it was enough to get the win, so it was good.”
El Tabakh also clinched a straight-sets victory, 6-4, 6-3 opposite American Danielle Lao to set up a meeting with No. 3 seed Stephanie Vogt of Liechtenstein.
“I thought I played pretty solid, so I’m happy with my performance,” El Tabakh said. “My opponent was kind of tricky because she doesn’t give you much rhythm. But I expected that, I was ready for that. I’m happy I was able to pull it off because I adapted, I kept hitting the ball and going for it, and didn’t get caught up in her game style.”
Sharon Fichman was unable to join her countrywomen in the second round as she was ousted by No. 5 seed and former world No. 11 Shahar Peer of Israel 6-1, 6-2, who will now take on Zhao for a place in the quarter-finals.
Other results saw No. 2 seed Jessica Pegula of the United States upset by Dutch qualifier Eva Wacanno by a score of 7-6(4), 7-5, while last week’s $50K Saguenay champion Jovana Jaksic extended her win streak to six matches with a 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Aussie Olivia Rogowska. Swiss Amra Sadikovic, champion of the Tevlin Challenger in 2011, also advanced thanks to a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Hungarian qualifier Fanni Stollar.
No. 1 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany become the first person to earn a quarter-final spot with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Indian Karman Kaur Thandi and was later joined by No. 7-seeded Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek who cruised to a 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. No. 6-seeded American Maria Sanchez battled through a second consecutive three-hour match to secure her quarter-final position 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-1 against Belgian Marie Benoit.
Thursday’s action will see Abanda, El Tabakh, and Zhao all take the courts as the second round comes to a close and the complete quarter-final field is set. All three players will also be competing in the doubles semifinals, with Abanda and El Tabakh paired together and Zhao teamed with Pegula.
The Tevlin Challenger takes place at the Centre of Excellence at Aviva Centre, home of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, until Sunday November 1. In its 11th year, the tournament has seen many past champions move on to greater successes on the professional circuit, including former world No. 5 and Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard (2012), two-time WTA titlist Heather Watson (2010), 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki (2007), and former world No. 21 Aleksandra Wozniak (2005). Admission is free for fans all week. Please click here to view the draws and order of play.