Friday, August 12, 2022 – Simona Halep plays against Coco Gauff during quarterfinals of the 2022 National Bank Open presented by Rogers at Sobey’s Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Peter Power/Tennis Canada)
It’s quarter-final Friday at the National Bank Open!
All the singles matches are taking place on Centre Court at Sobeys Stadium in Toronto, with eight women vying to reach the semis.
But even as the field is dwindling, there is still plenty of fun to be had around the grounds.
Friday’s most high-profile match opened proceedings in Toronto with two-time champion Simona Halep moving past 10th seed Coco Gauff in straight sets.
It was another windy day and the 15th seed handled the conditions better and held off a spirited fightback from the American teen in the second set to claim a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory.
Halep is through to the semi-finals in Canada for the fifth time in her career. Both of her titles have come in Montreal, while her best result in Toronto was a runner-up appearance in 2015. A title here would make her the only woman in the 21st century to win the title in both Toronto and Montreal.
Her next opponent will be seventh seed Jessica Pegula, who defeated Yulia Putintseva in straight sets. The Buffalo-native is in the semifinals for the second year in a row in Canada.
Beatriz Haddad Maia’s breakthrough run continued on Friday as she rallied from a set down and a break down in the third set to upset 12th seed Belinda Bencic.
The Brazilian had never even reached the quarter-finals of a WTA 1000 event before this week, but has been on a spectacular run in Toronto, upsetting three seeds in a row including Leylah Fernandez and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek before taking out the 2015 champion 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
In the semis, she will meet 14th seed Karolina Pliskova who beat Zheng Qinwen in the final match of the day 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Pliskova is looking to reach a second straight final in Canada having lost in the title match last year to Camila Giorgi.
Canada’s hopes for a title on home remains alive in the doubles after Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski advanced to the semifinals along with partner Giuliana Olmos. The pair swept the supertiebreak 10-0 to beat eighth seeds Alexa Guarachi and Andreja Klepac.
Dabrowski is the defending champion in her home country, having won the title last year in Montreal with Luisa Stefani.
Who wouldn’t want their face on a shopping bag?
As strange as that may sounds, a highly-popular activity on-site this week at Sobeys Stadium has been courtesy of the stadium’s namesake company, Sobeys. At their booth, fans can get their picture taken and have it printed onto a shopping bag.
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