The singles semi-finals are set
Three Canadian players were in quarter-final action on Friday at the National Bank Challenger in Saguenay. Carol Zhao (Richmond Hill, ON), Charlotte Robillard-Millette (Blainville, QC) and Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) were unable to move on to the semi-finals. Sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the tournament offers $60,000 USD in prize money and will be held from October 23 to 29, 2017.
The first match of the day opposed Jessika Ponchet of France and American Francesca di Lorenzo. In the only quarter-final match which did not involve a Canadian, Ponchet booked a spot in the semi-finals with her 6-3, 6-4 victory on Friday. This is her second semi-final appearance at a $60,000 Challenger tournament in 2017; earlier this summer she reached the semi-final at the Granby National Bank Challenger.
The Canadian Carol Zhao was looking to build off of an impressive season, which saw her win her professional title on the ITF Women’s Circuit in Japan. Standing in her way of a semi-final appearance was Greta Arn of Hungary, former world no. 40. The Canadian experienced difficulties trying to keep up with her heavy hitting opponent and eventually fell 6-0, 6-1.
There was not much time to rest for Zhao, however, as she was back in action in the doubles semi-final, playing with compatriot Bianca Andreescu. The Canadian duo were taking on Jessika Ponchet of France and her partner Kimberley Zimmermann of Belgium. In the end, it was the Canadian team who took the match 6-2, 7-5 and due to the withdrawal of di Lorenzi from the doubles draw, Andreescu and Zhao were crowned doubles champions.
Playing in her third consecutive quarter-final in Saguenay was Charlotte Robillard-Millette. In a tough match-up against Bibiane Schoofs, the tournament’s third seed, it was the Canadian who took the first set in a little over half an hour, outlasting her opponent in a number of lengthy rallies. Despite saving a set point in the second, Robillard-Millette dropped the set in a tiebreak and eventually fell to Schoofs by a score of 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-2.
The final quarter-final match of the day featured the 15-year-old Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) taking on the qualifier Shilin Xu of China, who eliminated Bianca Andreescu in the first round. Fernandez put up a valiant effort, but ultimately fell to a more experienced opponent by a score of 7-5, 6-4.