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Ontario teen Bianca Andreescu to face Serena Williams in Rogers Cup final

For the first time in forty years, a Canadian woman has made it to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament. Bianca Andreescu is becoming a household name and is on her way to becoming Canada's sweetheart.

It’s Andreescu’s first tournament after a right-shoulder injury sidelined her since the French Open in May.

She’s now won 16 consecutive matches where she has not retired due to injury, including victories over six of the top 10 players in the WTA. Her world ranking will rise from 27th to at least 19th on Monday.

Saturday’s win was Andreescu’s first match this week that did not go three sets. She has been on the court more than any other player at this year’s Rogers Cup at 10 hours 54 minutes.

All that playing after a lengthy layoff has taken a toll. Andreescu needed to have her legs wrapped and taped during the second set of a gritty quarterfinal win over Karolina Pliskova on Friday.

READ MORE: Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu claims historic victory at BNP Paribas Open

She was taped up again for the semifinal against Kenin, the last woman to beat Andreescu in a full match at the Mexico Open in Acapulco back in February.

“Just with all that I’ve been through. The past couple of months have been so so so so tough,” said Andreescu about her post-match celebrations. “Just being able to be here right now is truly incredible.”

Andreescu is the first Canadian to make the Rogers Cup women’s final in 50 years. Faye Urban of Windsor, Ont., beat Vancouver’s Vicki Berner in the 1969 final, when the tournament was still played on clay courts and called the Canadian Open.

“For sure there’s some pressure, but I have nothing to lose, really,” said Andreescu. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m just going to try and stay in the present moment.”

Andreescu brought her drop shot back against Kenin after rarely employing it against Pliskova. Her most deft use of the light touch came in the eighth game of the first set.

She telegraphed going for an overhand smash but then just tapped the ball to drop her shot neatly in bounds. Kenin banged her racket off the net in frustration as the Aviva Centre crowd roared its approval.

That partisan crowd did affect Kenin’s concentration.

“I don’t play in those kind of conditions, so it’s not like I can practise,” said Kenin. “I didn’t want to pay attention to that. I knew it was going to happen, so it wasn’t like a shock.
Bianca Andreescu dropped to her knees and covered her face in visible relief before kissing the Aviva Centre’s hardcourt after advancing to the Rogers Cup final.

The 19-year-old from nearby Mississauga, Ont., held on for a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory over Sofia Kenin of the United States on Saturday afternoon. Andreescu said the emotional display was automatic after a gruelling second set that had her face five match points.

After kissing the hard court Andreescu lay on her back, crying and covering her face. After speaking with an on-court reporter she found her parents in the crowd for a lengthy embrace.

“All the emotions I had during that tiebreaker, I think my body just wanted to let it all out,” said Andreescu. “It’s just so incredible that I’m in the final of the Rogers Cup. I had zero expectations coming into this tournament.”

It’s also an incredible final for tournament organizers with Andreescu facing one of the greatest players of all time, Serena Williams. The American star, seeded eighth, downed Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday night.

“The crowd will obviously be for her. … But it’s really not about that,” Williams said. “It’s just about going out there and playing your great tennis.

“Luckily, I’ve had some tough crowds in my career, so hopefully I will be used to it.


Global News




The Canadian Press    8/11/2019


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