When the draw came out last Friday for the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montreal, it was the projected semi-final in the top half.
One week and three match wins later, the anticipated contest between World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland and third-ranked American Jessica Pegula is set for Saturday afternoon at IGA Stadium.
This will be their third meeting of the season and their eighth overall. Pegula beat Swiatek at the United Cup in January before the Australian Open and the Pole returned the favour one month later in the Doha final. Overall, she has come out on top in five of their seven career matchups which have all been played on hard courts with the exception of last year’s Roland-Garros quarter-final.
Based on their previous history, Swiatek is the favourite heading into Saturday, but given Pegula’s history at the tournament and the form she’s shown this week, she’s definitely in with a fighting chance. She’ll be playing in her third straight National Bank Open semi-final and will look to reach the final for the first time. The 29-year-old has a history with our Canadian tournaments, especially those played in Quebec. Most notably, she reached her first WTA final in Quebec City in 2018 in addition to making stops in Granby, Saguenay, and Montreal.
“I must play well here on this court. I love playing in Canada, I’ve always had good results ever since I was younger playing different events,” Pegula said following her quarter-final win over her compatriot Coco Gauff.
It would seem that the time is right for Pegula to pull off a significant upset, but Swiatek is feeling right at home in the stadium bearing her name and has really embraced her first visit to the city, so she may just be the one with the home court advantage. Regardless, it promises to be a compelling encounter with great shotmaking and riveting rallies that will entertain fans from start to finish with Swiatek attempting to reach her seventh final of the season and Pegula her second.