QUEBEC CITY, Canada - No.7 seed Alison Van Uytvanck is back into the Coupe Banque Nationale quarterfinals for the second year in a row after a tight, straight sets win over Marina Erakovic, 6-4, 7-6(4).
The 23-year-old Belgian burst onto the scene in 2015, when she put together a stunning run to the French Open quarterfinals -- but after suffering from ups and downs she’s still looking for her first WTA title two years later, now ranked World No.98.
Earlier in the season, Van Uytvanck defeated Erakovic on grass at the ITF level, and she took those learnings into their second career encounter in Quebec City.
“I think it’s a pretty good win, Erakovic was playing really well today,” Van Uytvanck said afterwards. “I played her a couple of weeks ago on grass, but I thought she definitely improved her game a lot, so for me it was tough.
“I was up two breaks in the second set, and she fought really hard to come back and played good tennis. So I’m happy with the win and the way I’m playing.”
Van Uytvanck grabbed an early break to start off with a 2-0 lead, but the New Zealander kept chipping away, staying close until finally breaking back at 3-3. Erakovic dodged two break points to consolidate, but couldn’t keep Van Uytvanck at bay for a third time as the Belgian broke through once more and served out the opening set.
She made another strong start to the second set, back-to-back breaks giving her a 3-0 lead. Erakovic kept Van Uytvanck under pressure to get the first one back, and then finally leveled the score at 4-4 after a marathon seven-minute game when the Belgian’s backhand floated long.
Erakovic held a set point at 5-4 that would have taken the match into a deciding set, but Van Uytvanck fought her way into a tiebreaker. She pulled away to reel off the last three points and book her spot into the next round after an hour and 51 minutes on court.
“I didn’t really have the best preparation for this tournament, because after the US Open I was sick for a week and I couldn’t play,” she explained. “I didn’t hit a lot of balls before the tournament, but I like playing indoors - it’s my best surface. I like the courts here.”
Up next, she’s set to face Caroline Dolehide in the quarterfinals. The American qualifier received a walkover from No.2 seed Oceane Dodin, who withdrew citing dizziness.
“[Dolehide] is not easy, she has a big serve and big forehand, and the courts are really fast here so it’s going to be tough against her. It’s important for me to serve well and to return well being aggressive.
“But for now, let’s enjoy this win and then tomorrow I’ll think about quarterfinals.”
Also in action on Thursday, Sachia Vickery came back from a set down and took out the No.8 seed Viktorija Golubic, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, earlier in the day.
To round out the last eight, a pair of Czechs advanced to the quarterfinals, as top seed Lucie Safarova and Lucie Hradecka each advanced to the quarterfinals. Safarova defeated American Sofia Kenin, 6-4, 6-3, while Hradecka came from a set down to defeat local hope Bianca Andreescu, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5.
The two Czechs will face off for a spot in the final four on Friday.
"Sofia had a great run at the US Open and I had to really concetrate on my service games and play a great game to beat her. The young players are sometimes going in waves, so I needed to really concetrate...and use any opportunities she gave me," Safarova said. "I know Lucie very well, and we played each other quite a few times. It should be a good match, she's playing very well here, serving big and hitting big from both sides."