West Vancouver’s Hollyburn Country Club is the site for world class tennis this week as the host of the 2019 Odlum Brown VanOpen. The action heats up this weekend with singles semifinals beginning not before 12pm PST on Saturday.
Canadian Wild Card Leylah Fernandez is playing in her first Odlum Brown VanOpen but you wouldn’t know it with her performance! The 16 year-old has yet to drop a set in the tournament, besting Japan’s Nao Hibino 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Despite her triumph, the match was tightly contested.
“[Hibino] is a fighter and I knew no balls would be easy and she wasn’t going to give me the match; I just tried to stay calm and fight through and I did that well and I got the victory so I’m happy about that.” Fernandez said in her post match interview.
Leylah’s run to the semis has captured fans’ hearts as Center Court seats were filled with supporters cheering on the Laval teenager. However, she has her work cut out for her on the court as she faces Britain’s Heather Watson in the Semifinals. Watson bested Fernandez in their only prior match at the National Bank Cup Quarterfinals in Quebec City by a 6-4, 7-5 score.
Watson handily defeated her Australian opponent Maddison Inglis in the quarterfinals. The 27 year-old Brit dominated in all facets, capturing 4 of 5 possible break points and racking up 4 service aces in a match which lasted just 1 hour and 14 minutes. The 2018 VanOpen finalist is playing like she has something to prove as she’s yet to drop a set in the tournament.
Hungary’s Timea Babos also hasn’t lost a set since her first round match against Canadian Eugenie Bouchard. Babos served up 7 Aces and won 4 of 6 possible break points while never allowing Australia’s Priscilla Hon to win more than 1 game in a row during their Quarterfinal matchup. The world No. 3 doubles player advances to the semis and will face No. 3 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Spain’s Sorribes Tormo bested Japanese Qualifier Ena Shibahara 6-1, 6-3 to book her place in the semifinals.
Canadian Sharon Fichman and Australian doubles partner Storm Sanders fell to No.2 seed Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Miyu Kato 6-3, 3-6, 7-10.
Australian stand-out Thanasi Kokkinakis had not dropped a set until the semifinals. Despite taking the first set 6-2 and posting 11 aces in the match, it was not enough to usurp top-seed Ricardis Berankis. Berankis stormed back to take the final 2-sets 6-4, 6-3 and advance to the semi-finals. The Lithuanian won the 2019 Challenger Banque Nationale in Drummondville and two other ATP Challenger titles this year.
Berankis now faces another ATP tour veteran in Japan’s Go Soeda. Soeda’s Quarterfinal match also went the distance as he bested France’s Enzo Couacaud 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4. Soeda and Berankis have not faced each other since the 2010 Nottingham finals which saw Berankis capture his maiden ATP Challenger title 6-4, 6-4.
A marathon 3-set match between Taiwan’s Jason Jung and Australia’s Marc Polmans lasted 2 hours and 41 minutes with Jung prevailing by a score of 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Jung now moves on to face France’s Maxime Janvier who bested Qualifier Liam Broady of Great Britain 7-5, 7-5 in his Quarterfinal match.
Canadian Adil Shamasdin and doubles partner Treat Huey of the Philippines punched their ticket to the finals with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Venezuelan Roberto Maytin and Jackson Withrow of the United States. They will now face Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt and Britain’s Jonny O’Mara in the doubles final to be held on Center Court not before 2pm PST.
With only two days left in the tournament, it’s sure to be an incredible show of fast-paced tennis action this weekend at the Odlum Brown VanOpen in West Vancouver. Be sure to follow all the events of the weekend on Instagram and Twitter @VanOpenTennis.