Photo: Sarah-Jäde Champagne|Photo : Patrice Lapointe

Four Canadians battled in today’s semi-finals but only Leylah Annie Fernandez (Laval, QC) will defend the country’s colours at the Granby National Bank Challenger. Held from July 22 to 28 at the Club de tennis des loisirs de Granby, the tournament features a mixed draw, with the men competing in the $81 240 ATP Challenger event and the women in the $80 000 ITF World Tennis Tour event.

The highly anticipated battle between Françoise Abanda and Fernandez lived up to every expectation. Fernandez took an early lead, breaking Abanda twice in the first set. Keeping the momentum going, the up-and-comer got up 4-2, 40-15 in the second before her opponent found her game and forced a third set. The grueling physical and mental battle was finally decided in a tiebreaker. Clawing her way back from a match point, Fernandez had the final say and secured her ninth consecutive victory (6-3, 5-7, 7-6(6)). She is now only one match away from claiming a second title in as many weeks after taking the top honours at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger last weekend.

In the other semi-final, Katherine Sebov (Toronto, ON) fell to Lizette Cabrera of Australia in three sets (3-6, 6-1, 6-0). Playing in her third consecutive semi-final in Granby, the Ontarian started off strong but Cabrera managed to come back and raise her game in the second and third sets.

In the men’s event, reigning titleholder Peter Polansky surrendered to Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan, who earned the only break of the match (7-6(7), 6-4). He will go head-to-head against Ernesto Escobedo of the US, who ousted Borna Gojo of Croatia in three sets.

The Granby National Bank Challenger is the second of two mixed draw tournaments held in Québec in July. The event was preceded by the Gatineau National Bank Challenger.


Feature photo: Sarah-Jäde Champagne