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Quarterfinals Set In Québec City

The second round of the Bell Challenge wrapped up, with one player - Ajla Tomljanovic - breaking through to her first WTA quarterfinal, though it definitely wasn't the way she wanted.

Published September 12, 2013 12:00

Quarterfinals Set In Québec City
Ajla Tomljanovic

QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - The second round ended on Thursday, with one player - Ajla Tomljanovic - breaking through to her first WTA quarterfinal, though it definitely wasn't the way she wanted.

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For over two hours, Tomljanovic and No.4 seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands were wowing the crowd with some impressive and aggressive tennis, with Tomljanovic squeaking out a tight first set, Mattek-Sands bouncing back to win the second set, then Tomljanovic charging out to a 4-1 lead in the third set.

But an unfortunate fall from Mattek-Sands caused her to retire down 4-1 in that third set.

"She slipped and her knee is in bad shape - winning this match is bittersweet, I feel really bad for her," Tomljanovic said. "She hasn't had an easy road. I hope she recovers as soon as she can."

Though it wasn't the way she wanted, the retirement resulted in Tomljanovic's first WTA quarterfinal, which will come along with another career breakthrough - she'll make her Top 100 debut on Monday.

This might be a memorable week for the young Croat for another reason - she loves Québec City.

"I love the hotel and the street with all the restaurants on it, there's just so much going on, and the people are so nice here too," she said. "I went to the revolving restaurant and it was great. But I actually went by myself - my parents were supposed to go with me but they said they weren't hungry! So I was sitting there by myself. The view was perfect, of course, but I just needed some company!

"I also had a walk down to where they sell the crêpes. It really is a beautiful city here."

The other two seeds in action during the daytime won, with No.3 seed Lucie Safarova serving up 13 aces and staving off five set points in the second set tie-break to get past Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in a pair of tie-breaks, 76(4) 76(10), and No.7 seed Lauren Davis beating Andrea Hlavackova, 61 26 63.

"Mirjana plays very fast and flat, and on this surface that's very dangerous, so I just had to be concentrated on every point," Safarova said. "I think the key to the match today was to keep playing aggressively in the tough moments, the key points. I'm very happy I made it through in two sets."

Safarova shares Tomljanovic's affinity for the host city. "Being in Québec is really nice. It's a beautiful city. I had some nice walks this week when the weather was better than it is now! And I'm feeling good about my game - match by match I'm improving, and I'm just looking forward to the next one now."

Does the Czech have any food recommendations? "My favorite place here is a small, low key crêpe place called Le Billig," she said. "I go back there every year I play this tournament. And I also like a place called The Bagel Factory - they bake their own bagels there, and it's such a nice place!"

The night session saw No.5 seed Eugenie Bouchard rally from 4-2 down in the second set to close out Kazakhstani qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva in straight sets, 76(2) 64, and No.2 seed Kristina Mladenovic advance past Petra Martic when the Croat had to retire in the second set because of illness.

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