Gabriela Dabrowski is into her first career Challenger final as she defeated No. 8 seed Petra Rampre 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals of the $50,000 Tevlin Challenger in Toronto on Saturday.
The Ottawa native, who received a wild card into the tournament, battled through a nearly two hour, 45 minute match to eliminate the Slovenian. Following the first set, nearly every game went the distance as both competitors continuously fought back and refused to let up.
“I thought in the first set as compared to the others, I served a lot better, so I got a lot more free points,” Dabrowski said. “Then I don’t know what really happened, I just sort of slowed down and she gained her confidence on her returns. In the third set, she started hitting some good returns that I couldn’t really read. It was very long, I was just glad I was able to pull it out after spending so much time on court.”
The 19-year-old will take on qualifier Amra Sadikovic of Switzerland in the final after the Macedonian-born player eliminated Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-3, 7-5. Dabrowski last played her in the qualifying tournament of the $75K Challenger in Albuquerque, New Mexico in September, losing 6-4, 6-2.
“She has a very big serve and a good net game,” Dabrowski said. “She’s very aggressive off the bat and tries to take the point right away. To improve upon my match against her last time, I was not very consistent and I made a lot of unforced errors and I let her power me around the court.”
For her part, Sadikovic was impressive in preventing No. 6 Babos, the $50,000 Saguenay champion a week ago, from a shot at two consecutive titles. The 22-year-old owns three $10K Challenger titles, and reached the final of a $25K tournament in Switzerland earlier this year, but her Toronto result is now the best of her career.
“If I’m honest, I didn’t expect that I’m going to go this far,” Sadikovic said. “One week before I played a good tournament in Saguenay, but I wasn’t supposed to actually come here at all, because I played there until Friday in the quarters, and had to play Saturday qualies here and I felt tired. But I decided Friday night at 10 o’clock in the evening, ‘okay, let’s do it’.”
Now that she’s in the championship match, Sadikovic is looking forward to facing Dabrowski again.
“She’s a good player,” Sadikovic said. “I played her at the tournament in Albuquerque seven weeks ago. I beat her, but that doesn’t mean anything. She’s a good player, she’s running, she gets a lot of balls. But I think if I get to play my game – let’s just say I’m confident, but you never know.”
The final will take place on Sunday at 12 p.m. at the Rexall Centre’s Centre of Excellence. Admission is free.