It was quarterfinals day Friday at the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championship Istanbul, the third tournament played on the dirt since the tour restart last month after a five-month suspension.
In a line-up that featured former finalists as well as a former top 5 star, it was bad day for the two seeds remaining in the draw, both dropping their matches, and the exits of the two ex-finalists thus ensured that the Turkish city will see new faces feature in the final this year.
Bouchard digs deep once again to sail into first semifinal of 2020
Coming off a magnificent win over top seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the previous round to make her third quarterfinal of the year, qualifier Eugenie Bouchard took on the 2016 runner-up Danka Kovinic for a place in the last four.
After going down a break early in the first set, which turned out to be a decisive one, the former world number five Bouchard regrouped and edged out her Montenegrin opponent 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a match that lasted just past the three-hour mark.
The pair totalled a tally of 226 points between them, Bouchard winning four more than Kovinic. With the victory, the Canadian is through to her first semifinal since the back end of the 2018 season.
Badosa comes from behind to reach second career semifinal
Paula Badosa, currently the fourth highest-ranked Spaniard, like Bouchard earlier, was also made to work hard, dropping her first set of the week in the opener en route to the win against third seed and 2018 runner-up Polona Hercog. In total, there were 13 breaks of serve between the pair in the match which lasted two hours 39 minutes, nine of those coming in the deciding set.
The win saw the 22-year-old Spaniard through to the second semifinal result of her career after Palermo last year, and she faces Bouchard next for a place in the final. The exits of Kovinic, and now Hercog meant that the tournament will witness the emergence of new finalists this year.
The remaining two quarterfinal matches took place in the evening. The first match saw Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova, who had upset fourth seed Caroline Garcia prior, go up against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The Czech joined fellow qualifier Bouchard in the last four as she continued her winning ways, routing her Belarussian opponent in match that saw 11 breaks of serve, dropping just five games en route to an 82-minute win.
The win saw Martincova through to her third career semifinal, her first since 2017 in Gstaad. It also meant a Czech player is in the last four of Istanbul for the second year running.
The day concluded with second seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, heretofore the sole seed left in contention, meeting Romanian Patricia Maria Tig. Peterson, who won two titles last year, was in her second quarterfinal of the season.
However, it was not to be for the Swede as she managed to rack in just four games under her belt, committing seven double faults in the process, en route to the loss. The win for Tig was her second in a row over a seeded player this week as she is through to her second semifinal of 2020.
The semifinal proceedings will kick off Saturday with Bouchard taking on Badosa first. While the more experienced Bouchard will be looking to seal a place in her first final since 2016 when she reached finals in Hobart and Kuala Lumpur, and her first on the dirt since winning her sole career title at Nurnberg in 2014, Badosa will seek to stop the Canadian’s bid and secure her berth in her maiden career final.
In the other semifinal encounter, Martincova, like Badosa, is seeking for a place in her maiden final appearance as well while Tig is aiming to reach the third final of her career, having last done so on home turf in Bucharest last year.