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WTA Montreal Live Blog: Packed Quarter-final Friday at the National Bank Open

by Tennis Canada

August 11, 2023

Doubles partners Pegula and Gauff faced off, Swiatek defeats Collins in tricky quarter-final clash

11:07 p.m. ET – Samsonova survives double duty, beats Bencic to reach maiden WTA 1000 semi-final

After two matches and nearly *five* hours of tennis in a single day, Ludmila Samsonova is finally through to the semi-finals here in Montreal. The 24-year-old opened play against No. 2 seed Sabalenka to kick off play on Friday in their rain-delayed third-rounder, and returned to kick off night session action against Belinda Bencic about seven hours later.

Her big serve and penchant for shorter points served Samsonova well on her marathon day of tennis, and she was able to outhit Bencic in two tight sets, winning 6-4, 6-4 and becoming the third player into the National Bank Open semis.

She awaits the winner of the second night match between No. 3 seed Elena Rybakina and No. 10 seed Daria Kasatkina.

Ludmila Samsonova
Photo : Mathieu Bélanger

8:43 p.m. ET – Swiatek seals the deal in fourth three-setter of the day

Well, that was tense. 😮‍💨

...but the World No. 1 is through! Swiatek had her hands full thanks to some huge ballstriking by Collins throughout the second and third sets, but after raising her own level and securing an additional break in the seventh game of the decider, she was about the close out the American qualifier, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, in arguably her toughest test of the week.

The popular Pole is through to her first semi-final in Canada, where she'll face Pegula – against whom she owns a winning 5-2 head-to-head record – for a ticket to Championship Sunday in Montreal.

Iga Swiatek
Photo : Mathieu Bélanger

8:01 p.m. ET – And we're onto a third set (again) on Centre Court!

It's hard to believe, but qualifier Danielle Collins has managed to claw her way back into this match after going down an early break to World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the second set. The American, a former Top 10 player with a Grand Slam final to her name, capitalizes on some tight play by the Pole and levels the match at 3-6, 6-4.

Danielle Collins
Photo : Mathieu Bélanger

5:56 p.m. ET – Pegula ends Coco's win streak in all-American quarter-final clash

Coco Gauff was the in-form player coming into the National Bank Open this year, capturing her biggest title to date in Washington without dropping a set. Against long-time doubles partner and No. 4 seed Jessica Pegula, she appeared to be running out of steam, dropping the first set rather meekly 6-2.

Although she'd storm back to take the second set 7-5, Pegula – as is her way – was the steadier of the two late in the third. The Buffalo, New York native has made a name for herself as one of the most consistent players on tour, and showed it by out-grinding Gauff in two hours, 20 minutes of impressive tennis.

A semi-finalist in both 2021 and 2022, Pegula is back in the semi's once again. But the question remains – can she go one step further this year?

Jessica Pegula
Photo : Sarah-Jade Champagne

4:33 p.m. ET – WTA celebrates 50 years of women's professional tennis

ICYMI: WTA CEO Steve Simon joined Gavin Ziv (Chief Tournaments Officer), Valérie Tetreault (Tournament Director, NBO Montreal), and rising Canadian star Marina Stakusic in Montreal to celebrate 50 years of women's tennis. 

Here to 50 years of excellence – and 50 more! 👏

Photo : Pascal Ratthé

3:31 p.m. ET – 2015 champion outlasts 2012 champion to close out third round

At last – the third round of the National Bank Open is complete! Over on Rogers Court, a day after their match was originally scheduled, Bencic overcame the heavy hitting of Petra Kvitova (and a minor rolled ankle in the third set) to win 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-1 and reach the quarter-finals, where she'll play Samsonova in the night session's first match.

Belinda Bencic
Photo : Pascal Ratthé



3:05 p.m. ET – UPSET: Samsonova knocks out Sabalanka to reach quarterfinals

Who saw that coming? 

Well, if you've been paying attention the last couple of seasons, you'd know that Samsonova and her big serve love the speedy hard courts in North America. In a match that could have gone either way, it's the No. 15 seed who edges out victory over the reigning Australian Open champion, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3.

Lludmila Samsonova
Photo : Pascal Ratthé

2:13 p.m. ET – Samsonova, Sabalenka split sets on Centre Court

In a fascinating duel of firepower vs. firepower, No. 15 seed Lludmila Samsonova and No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka are headed to a third set as the two hard-hitting Eastern Europeans are locked at 6-7(3), 6-4 after two tense hours of play. 

The winner of that rain-delayed third-rounder (originally slated for yesterday evening), will play the winner of the other postponed third-round clash between Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic, two former National Bank Open champs. Kvitova claimed the first set in a tiebreak, but it's Bencic up by a break now in the second set.

Aryna Sabalenka
Photo : Pascal Ratthé

12:11 p.m. ET – On-court excitement matched by off-court fun

There's something for everyone at the National Bank Open as we head into the championship weekend. If you're coming to the tournament this year, check out some of these great off-court activities in between match action:

  • Montreal chef Antonio Park's signature Japanese/Korean fusion makes an appearance at his pop-up restaurant on site from Friday until final Sunday
  • *The* Davis Cup, won by Team Canada last season, will be making an appearance at IGA Stadium and fans will have the opportunity to pose with the famous trophy on the Promenade du sportif
  • The final of the inaugural Tennis Canada Virtual Reality Tournament takes place today at 5:30pm! Be sure to swing by the kiosk to check out this innovative new event presented by the motorola razr


11:30 a.m. ET – Normally on Friday at the National Bank Open, we'd be down to an Elite Eight with four mouthwatering quarter-finals on tap for tennis fans in Montreal to get excited for. Yet due to a rainy Thursday, we've actually got an even better Order of Play today with two bonus matches in the morning to set up our night session quarter-final.

Buckle up, all. It's going to be a great day of tennis.

COURT CENTRAL starts at 12:00 PM
[15] L. Samsonova vs [2] A. Sabalenka
NB 2:00 PM [4] J. Pegula (USA) vs [6] C. Gauff (USA)
[1] I. Swiatek (POL) vs [Q] D. Collins (USA)
NB 7:00 PM [7] P. Kvitova (CZE) OR [12] B. Bencic (SUI) vs [15] L. Samsonova OR [2] A. Sabalenka
[10] D. Kasatkina vs [3] E. Rybakina (KAZ)

COURT ROGERS starts at 12:00 PM
[7] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs [12] B. Bencic (SUI)
[4] N. Melichar-Martinez (USA) / E. Perez (AUS) vs [WC] M. Stakusic (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN)
After suitable rest [1] C. Gauff (USA) / J. Pegula (USA) vs [7] S. Aoyama (JPN) / E. Shibahara (JPN)
NB 7:00 PM [4] N. Melichar-Martinez (USA) / E. Perez (AUS) OR [WC] M. Stakusic (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN) vs L. Chan (TPE) / Z. Yang (CHN)

COURT 9 starts at 11:30 AM
M. Kostyuk (UKR) / S. Zhang (CHN) vs [2] S. Hunter (AUS) / E. Mertens (BEL)
[5] D. Krawczyk (USA) / D. Schuurs (NED) vs U. Eikeri (NOR) / I. Neel (EST)
[6] L. Kichenok (UKR) / J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs M. Kostyuk (UKR) / S. Zhang (CHN) OR [2] S. Hunter (AUS) / E. Mertens (BEL)