Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA)
PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL: Beatriz Haddad Maia ensured local interest in the semi-finals of the Grade A 29th Copa Gerdau in Brazil after beating Montserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay 62 76(4) to seal a place in the last four. Maia is the last Brazilian player standing after compatriots – and pre-event favourites - Thiago Monteiro and Laura Pigossi were both knocked out on Thursday.
"All matches are difficult, but I'm very proud to win and represent Brazil in the tournament so important. I always want the best, and Gerdau Cup title would be very important for my career," Maia, who is known as Bia, told local media.
“I started the match (against Gonzalez) with confidence and won the first set. From there, my opponent gave me fewer free points and I had to change my game plan. I started hitting balls deeper and also improved my serve.”
Maia is bidding to become the first Brazilian girl since Miriam D’Agostini in 1996 to win the Copa Gerdau. She will play ninth seed Ellen Allgurin, from Sweden, for a place in the final. Saturday’s other girls’ semi-final will be between Pigossi’s conqueror Anna Danilina (Kazhakstan) and American Alicia Tornado Black. Danilina wrapped up a 64 64 win over Pigossi, while Black, who came into the main draw courtesy of a wildcard, beat Maria Ines Deheza (BOL) 64 75.
Argentina’s Nicholas Matteo Martinez ended Monteiro’s hopes of back-to-back titles at Porte Alegre with a 64 36 and 63 win. Martinez will play Kimmer Coopejans in the last four after the Belgian beat Argentina’s Pedro Cachin 46 62 61. In the other boys’ semi-final, 18-year-old Mathias Borgue from France faces second seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan after Borgue defeated Italian Gianluigi Quinzi 62 46 64 and Uchida wrapped up a 64 63 win over Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Galarza.
Borgue, who won the Copa Gerdau title in 2010, said he high hopes of recapturing the trophy. “I've got Copa Gerdau once and I feel very good about playing here. I'm playing well, "said the French teenager, who impressed local reporters by speaking to them in near-flawless Portuguese.