Toronto, October 31, 2015 – It will be top seed and world No. 74 Tatjana Maria of Germany versus Serbian Jovana Jaksic, who is on a nine-match win streak, for the title at the Tevlin Challenger after both players captured victories in the semifinals of the $50,000 ITF Pro Circuit event at Aviva Centre in Toronto on Saturday.
Maria defeated 20-year-old Canadian Carol Zhao 6-2, 7-5 to earn her spot in the final and advance one step further from her semifinal finish here a year ago. After a quick first set, Zhao turned on her game in the second set and held a break advantage at 4-3. But Maria, who made the third round of Wimbledon this year, was able to battle through to break back and break again at 6-5 to defeat the NCAA Division I No. 1-ranked player.
“I think I started pretty well, but Zhao was playing really good,” Maria said. “She has a good touch and she runs really well, so it was intense from the beginning. The second set was hard for me, so it was really 50-50 who could win the set, so I’m really happy I won in the end.”
Jaksic against Amra Sadikovic of Switzerland was a thriller of a semifinal, with many twists and turns ending 2-6, 7-6(9), 6-0 in the 22-year-old Serbian’s favour. A re-match of last week’s $50,000 Saguenay Challenger final, Jaksic looked down and out in the first set after taking an injury timeout. But she kept going and was able to make a contest of it.
In the second-set tiebreaker, Jaksic took a 6-2 lead before Sadikovic climbed back and looked primed to clinch the triumph. Saving two match points, Jaksic forced a deciding third set. Down 0-3, Sadikovic needed an injury timeout, but the 2011 Tevlin Challenger champion ultimately did not recover from her second-set loss as a rejuvenated Jaksic cruised to the victory.
“All of those match points I saved, last week I also saved a few in the second round so I was familiar with that feeling,” Jaksic said. “So I just thought, I’m just going to play my best in that moment, and if it goes, it goes and if it doesn’t congrats to her. But it went down to the end, and I’m really happy that I’m through to the final.”
This is the ninth win in a row for the No. 209-ranked Jaksic, all on Canadian soil. She is into her second consecutive final after winning the $50,000 Saguenay Challenger in Quebec last week.
“I’m having an amazing time here,” she said of her success in Canada. “The people are amazing, they are so warm. I’m really feeling like I’m at home, so that helps to make me play well and be happy, and that is where my best game is coming from.”
Maria and Jaksic have only played each other once before, also at the Tevlin Challenger. They faced off in the first round last year, with Maria clinching a 7-5, 6-1 victory.
Sunday’s final will commence at 11 a.m. at the Centre of Excellence at Aviva Centre, home of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. 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. Please click here to view the draws and order of play.