Without the drake equation, just the fact that our planet has produced a few hominids including Denisovan and Neanderthal man, and several species that exhibit decision making skills, I think the likelihood high. Evolution occurring on any other water bearing planet might well follow similar paths to similar results.
Survival traits exist for each species. Camouflage or coloration, physical skills of escape or attack- a whole host of developments by way of evolution. Among hominids brain size and the use of hands. We can never know if the dinosaurs had survived that there might be sentient reptilian or other forms. But conditions developing in a certain direction would likely lead to similar results.
It took a special combination of circumstances to get just to where we are now. A sentient society going further would similarly need a special combination to reach the point that they can assure the continued existence and advancement of their species. I personally think if there is ever a visit from an alien species, it will be long after our demise. We may become a regeneration experiment, like Jurassic Park, for a future super species.