SAGUENAY, October 29, 2017
Four players were vying for a spot in the final of the $60,000 Challenger Banque Nationale de Saguenay on Saturday. It was the veteran Greta Arn and Bibiane Schoofs who were victorious in their semi-final matches.
The first semi-final match of the day featured Greta Arn of Hungary, former world no. 40, against the young qualifier Shilin Xu of China. The experienced Arn got off to a flying start, converting on three of her nine break point opportunities and tallying four aces in the first. She took the set in a little under half an hour. The resilient 19-year-old Xu, however, was not ready to pack her bags. She began the second set with an early break and consolidated her break with a strong service game. Despite her best efforts, Xu fell to the veteran Arn in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.
Sunday will be Arn’s first final on the ITF Pro Circuit since January of 2011, when she won her second title on the WTA Tour in New Zealand. The Hungarian player, who retired from professional tennis in 2013 in order to pursue her studies in architecture, is playing in only her seventh tournament since her return. Arn is going into the Saguenay final having only dropped 13 games in her four matches and winning three 6-0 sets.
Looking to join Arn in Sunday’s final was the tournament’s third seed Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands, who was opposing Jessika Ponchet of France in the semi-final. The only seeded player left in the tournament, Schoofs came to Saguenay having reached the final at her previous tournament in France. In a tightly disputed first set, which lasted a little over an hour, it was Ponchet who emerged victorious in a tiebreak.
In the second, Ponchet jumped out to a lead, breaking her opponent in the opening game, but Schoofs was quick to even out the score. Late in the set, Schoofs capitalized again on her chances to break Ponchet and took the second. After two and a half hours of play, Schoofs booked her spot in the final with a 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-3 victory. The final will be played starting at noon on Sunday.