Bianca Andreescu is many things. A rising Canadian tennis star? Yes. A gutsy player who loves to come from behind? Absolutely.
But after her three-set victory over World No. 5 Kiki Bertens, the 19-year-old Mississauga, Ontario native is a history maker. She becomes the fifth Canadian since 1979 to make the quarterfinals at the Rogers Cup. Andreescu joins a small list of elite Canadian female tennis players, which include Carling Bassett, Patricia Hy, Helen Kelesi, and Aleksandra Wozniak.
“These last three matches were pretty crazy, but that’s just how tennis goes,” stated Andreescu after her third-round match. “You have to find a way.”
Bianca Andreescu Has Adapted Comeback Persona
Throughout this entire season, Andreescu’s meteoric rise has been accompanied by her innate ability to come back in matches. This Rogers Cup is no different. In three consecutive matches, Andreescu has needed to go to a third and deciding set. Unlike the first two matches, where the Canadian had to battle from down a set, Wednesday’s match against Bertens saw Andreescu start rapidly.
Through the first four games, the 19-year-old won all her points on her first serve. Winning the first set 6-1 demonstrated the all-around, aggressive nature of Andreescu’s game, from the groundstrokes to the drop shots. The second set, however, was evidence of Andreescu’s knack to never give up when being down.
Serving at 2-3 and 3-4, the young Canadian star was down 0-40, facing break points. The match could have hindered in Bertens’ direction, shifting control to the World No. 5. But when Andreescu is down, she plays her best. She exhibits fearlessness and a deep will to win that takes years to develop. Except she already has it at 19 years old.
“Sometimes you’re not going to play your best tennis, so you just have to find a way with what you have that day,” said Andreescu.
Andreescu can quickly put underwhelming games in the past. Up 4-2, 40-15 in the final set, the Canadian prodigy lost four straight points to give the break back to Bertens. But immediately thereafter, Andreescu put the unforced errors out of her mind. From 4-4, the Canadian dug deep to hold and break serve to secure victory.
For someone so young, Andreescu possesses the persona of a multi-year WTA veteran.
“She can do everything with the ball,” stated Bertens. “She’s a really good player.”
Andreescu in Rare Canadian Tennis Company
Bianca Andreescu cannot dwell on the glory of another third set comeback. On Thursday, the 19-year-old will take on World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, a player stylistically different than the three Andreescu has faced thus far. The powerful and effective serve of Pliskova will be put to the test against Andreescu’s groundstrokes. The rising tennis star admitted that she will be studying Pliskova’s serve closely, particularly working with her coach through the analytical program Tennis Analytics.
“I’m going to study her, study where she likes to serve to, just so I can be ready for those return games,” stated Andreescu.
Andreescu’s win against Bertens was not just one to advance to the next round. It signified how far the Canadian has gone in her comeback from a shoulder injury. Entering the Rogers Cup, Andreescu had only played one match in five months. The recovery was lengthy and it caused her to sit on the sidelines while watching her fellow professional peers compete in tournaments.
“Every two weeks being off really sucks,” said Andreescu. “But being off and getting to the quarterfinals at the Rogers Cup means so much to me. I’ve been playing a lot of matches, especially at the beginning of the year. So I gained a lot of experience from that.”
Regardless of how far Andreescu advances, she is in elite Canadian tennis company. At the mere age of 19, thoughts of what the future can look like for Andreescu are endless. But the teenager is focused on continuing her historic run in Toronto. She is eager to “win this thing.”
Lukas Weese is at the Rogers Cup on behalf of Tennis Canada.
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