Bianca Andreescu scored a major victory to start her Rogers Cup campaign on Tuesday night. The hometown girl battled in and out against Eugenie Bouchard and won a tight thriller 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Centre Court at the Aviva Tennis Center. While it left her as the only Canadian remaining in the main draw, it also marked a tough ninth consecutive match loss for her 25-year-old compatriot.
The two met back at Newport Beach where the Canadian teen pulled off a near-complete rout of the former Wimbledon runner-up. She went on to win her first-ever WTA title at Indian Wells two months later. Since then, both players have been dealing with injuries and had to be away from the WTA tour.
With a face-off in their home country, the two Canadians knew they would have to perform at their best as a large majority of their home fans would be in the stands. While Andreescu had the home advantage being from Mississauga, her opponent’s past accomplishments in the sport had her standing as Canada’s best player in women’s tennis till date.
Bouchard caught a break early with Andreescu feeling the nerves and committing three errors and a double fault. They then traded off wins with one another till the eighth game when a break for Andreescu came after scoring a winner following Bouchard’s first double fault.
The 25-year old broke back with a great crosscourt winner that erased Andreescu’s ace on the first point. When it looked as if the 19-year-old would get the chance to extend the set, Bouchard was saved after blowing three set points to draw a fifth error from her opponent in the game to take the set after 44 minutes. While it was a tight match, errors from both ends reached double digits with Bouchard recording 22 errors and Andreescu committing 24.
Knowing that she had to improve after a fast-paced start, the Canadian teen locked down the hold of serve to begin the second set. She then gained a footing in the set by taking an early break. Bouchard achieved a break back in the third game but fell behind fast with Andreescu producing a lot of energy. She reached triple break point, lost one but managed to hold strong and go up 3-1.
The 19-year-old already had 8 winners going into the fifth game where she set up a serve to love but watched Bouchard strike back on consecutive points. She forced deuce but made back-to-back errors to sit at three games down. Andreescu achieved the triple break as the errors racked up for the 25-year-old who soon saw the match go the distance. Andreescu cruised along in the sixth game, keeping herself ahead of the Montreal native to even the match after 36 minutes.
A show of aggression going into the third set didn’t work for the 25-year-old as she conceded the youngster an opening break. The older Canadian continued to struggle and squandered chances that opened the gap once more after four games.
A necessary hold for Bouchard cut the margin to half but she gave the ball back to the Canadian teen. Andreescu got into a highly-contested sixth game only to see a challenged call at 30-40 go against her as her return landed out. With Bouchard dead even at three apiece, she tried to make it three in a row but was denied by a tremendous response from Andreescu to gain a 4-3 stand and a break-up.
Great court positioning allowed the 19-year-old to earn a hold in the eighth game and go after Bouchard. At 30-all, the two got into a long ball rally with the ball landing very close to the baseline. Andreescu had a match point chance but put too much on it, getting Bouchard to deuce.
After two breaks, Bouchard notched up her second ace of the match before putting it away to get back within reach.The Mississauga native still had a shot at ending the match on serve and with two points to get it done, a six-shot rally ended with another error to end a two-hour-and-nine-minute battle.
“It was honestly such a good match,” she said during her on-court interview. “I’m really glad that we were able to put on a show for you guys. Sadly it was an All-Canadian first round but at least one Canadian got through.” She’ll go on to face Daria Kasatkina in the second round on Wednesday.Published 07 Aug 2019, 16:24 IST