Friday was one of the most successful days at the courts in Gabriela Dabrowski’s professional career, as she reached her first Challenger semifinal and followed it up by clinching the doubles title alongside fellow Canadian Marie-Eve Pelletier at the $50,000 Tevlin Challenger in Toronto.
Dabrowski defeated Slovenian Andreja Klepac 6-3, 6-0 in the quarter-finals. It was a solid victory for the 19-year-old, as Klepac had already eliminated the No. 1 seed Mirjana Lucic and former world No. 14 Elena Bovina.
“I felt that the big difference in today’s match compared to all the other ones is that I served a lot better and so I won more free points on my serve, whereas in the other ones I was kind of just starting the rally,” Dabrowski said. “She maybe had a little elbow injury; I don’t know exactly what that was. But sometimes when your opponent is injured, you kind of slow down and relax but I tried not to do that because the way she was playing wasn’t like she had a big problem, so I knew she could turn her game on at any moment.”
She will next take on another player from Slovenia as No. 8 Petra Rampre defeated Alexandra Mueller of the United States 6-4, 6-3. Dabrowski has played her two times before, most recently a 6-4, 6-1 loss in qualifying at the WTA event in Washington in July.
“Last time I was up 4-0 in the first set, and I had a three-hour match the day before and I was just completely done after that, so I hope that this time I can come into the match better prepared. And if I do get up at some point, to hold my lead and to stay aggressive.”
The battle for the bottom half of the draw will take place between Amra Sadikovic of Switzerland and No. 6 Timea Babos of Hungary.
Sadikovic beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-1, 6-1, stopping the 17-year-old Canadian’s run by playing powerful tennis and moving Bouchard all over the court.
Meanwhile, Babos extended her win streak to eight matches as she took out No. 2 seed Mandy Minella of Luxembourg. Babos won the $50,000 Saguenay Challenger crown in Quebec last week.
Dabrowski also teamed up with Pelletier to take the doubles championship, defeating Babos and Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-7(5) [10-4], enacting revenge for their loss in last week’s Saguenay final. It is Dabrowksi’s third Tevlin Challenger doubles title and Pelletier’s second, but their first as a team. This was only their second tournament together.
“I was happy to have played smarter in this match than we did when we played them a week ago,” Dabrowski said. “I think we make a good team, we work well together, she gives me a lot of really good advice and helps me say positive because sometimes I can get down on myself. She definitely lifts me up and keeps me focused. She’s a great partner.”
The two semifinals commence at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Rexall Centre’s Centre of Excellence, with Dabrowski and Rampre leading off. Admission is free.