American Vania King and Canadian Heidi El Tabakh meet today in the semifinals of the $25,000 Ascension Project Women’s Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit event in in Redding, California. Both are on the comeback trail from injury.
Once ranked as high as number 50 in the world in singles and number 3 in doubles, King suffered a herniated disc in her back and has since slipped outside the top 400 in singles. Her rehab has taken over eight months. En route to the semis, King beat top seed Jennifer Brady, wildcard Julia Jones and sixth seed Caitlin Whoriskey.
El Tabakh, whose career high singles rank is 146, was similarly out for nearly six months after retiring with a back injury at an ITF tournament in Toronto last October. Heidi’s path to the semis included straight set wins over former Wimbledon semifinalist Alexandra Stevenson, Nadja Gilchrist and Klaartje Liebens.
For both players, a return to some past form must surely be welcome. In any event, it’s great to see both of them playing well again after struggling so long with injury.
In the tournament’s other semifinal, fifth seed Sherazad Reix of France meets seventh seeded Paula Cristina Goncalves of Brazil.
Good luck to all of the ladies in their bid to take the title in Redding this week! But GO HEIDI! 😉