Katherine Sebov at net

Photo: Valérie Simard

The singles draw at the Saguenay National Bank Challenger has reached the semifinal stage with four players remaining in title contention at the $60,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event being held at the Saguenay Indoor Tennis Club until October 23.

Saturday’s first semifinal will see eighth-seeded American Francesca Di Lorenzo, currently ranked no. 251 on the WTA rankings, take on India’s Karman Kaur Thandi, ranked no. 308 in the world. Di Lorenzo trailed by a set and a break in her quarter-final match against her compatriot Catherine Harrison before she staged an impressive comeback to level the match and force a third set. In the final frame, the 25-year-old once again found herself down a break but managed to raise her level when she needed it most to pull out a hard fought 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(5) victory to reach her first semifinal of the 2022 season. She advanced to the second round in Saguenay the last time the tournament was played in 2019.

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Harrison will have the chance to redeem herself in the doubles final alongside her partner, Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium. They will meet the winners of the match between two of the top ranked pairs in Saguenay later tonight: the fourth-seeded duo of En Shuo Liang and Anna Siskova or the second-seeded team of Hartono (who is also still in the running in singles) and Olivia Tjandramulia.

Di Lorenzo’s next opponent, Thandi, continued her strong play this week with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Sarah Beth Grey of Great Britain in the round of eight. She has won all three of her matches so far in straight sets and hasn’t lost more than four games in those six sets. Thandi has one ITF singles title to her credit this year which she won in June on home soil in Gurugram, India. The 24-year-old also met Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the second round of the Chennai Open last month in her lone WTA appearance this season.

Mixed Results for the Canadians on Friday:  Stakusic Falls, Sebov Advances!

Two of the eight quarter-finalists in Saguenay were Canadian with Toronto’s Katherine Sebov and 17-year-old Marina Stakusic of Mississauga reaching the latter stages of the tournament.

Stakusic, who received a wild card into the main draw, saw her run come to an end at the hands of Arianne Hartono, the highest-ranked player remaining in the event. The world no. 207 from the Netherlands, who reached the final of the $25,000 ITF event in Fredericton, New Brunswick last week, needed less than an hour to defeat Stakusic 6-1, 6-2.

However, it was a different story for Katherine Sebov who easily defeated her opponent Eudice Chong (5th) in two sets of 6-1, 6-2. The Ontario native, who won the only professional title of her career in Saguenay in 2018, dominated the match from start to finish, converting five of the 11 break point opportunities she earned en route to the semifinals. While her chances of reaching the final of the event are still very real, she will have her work cut out for her tomorrow when she takes on  Hartono. A victory for the Canadian would mean a first final appearance on the ITF World Tour since January 2022.

Saturday’s schedule gets underway at 12:00 p.m. ET and will feature both singles semifinals followed by the doubles championship match.