Bianca Andreescu advances to first Grand Slam semifinals
Bianca Andreescu advances to first Grand Slam semifinals
Bencic will be back in the top 10 in the world rankings when they are published next week
06 September, 2019, 01:45
Bianca Andreescu's breakthrough season reached yet another high note on Wednesday night as the Canadian ingenue came from behind to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 against Belgium's Elise Mertens and become the first teenager in a decade to reach the US Open semi-finals. "Is this real life?"
"This is, honestly, so insane", she said on court after the match.
The 19-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., improved to 17-3 in three-setters this season with the victory. Let's break down Andreescu's quarterfinal win.
Andreescu - unbeaten since the French Open - progressed to the quarters with a frenetic three-set win over Taylor Townsend in front of a late night NY crowd. She had a chance to break the Belgian in the second game but Mertens uncorked some grit "n" guts of her own to stay level, four times bringing it back to deuce before Andreescu cracked a return into the tramlines, Mertens following with a backhand victor on the 14th point of the game to stay level.
Yet, a signature of Andreescu's precipitous rise to the top of women's tennis has been her ability to fight and problem-solve her way out of hard situations against all types of opponents. She got the first break of the final set and took a 5-3 lead on a backhand victor. On a pair of occasions, she smacked the ball after a point - clearly upset with her play.
'It's definitely not going to be easy, ' added Andreescu.
The Mississauga, Ont., native finished with 40 winners and 33 unforced errors while Mertens had 22 and 27, respectively.
It took some time for those tendencies to show themselves on Wednesday, but once they did Andreescu was her normal ferocious self. "And she wasn't. I noticed very early on that she was a born competitor", her coach Bruneau said.
Their exchange in the final earned the Canadian a legion of new fans as she consoled the veteran with encouraging words and hugged her.
Bencic has more wins over top-five and top-10 opponents than any other player on tour this season and has risen from 37th in world to start the year to 12th now. Andreescu, 19, found a spark in the second set, though, and controlled the contest thereafter.
The next game, she carried the momentum forward and broke Mertens for the second time in the set to go up 4-2. Her usual shouts of "come ON" after good shots sounded more plaintive after poor ones. Then, as Andreescu later admitted during a post-match interview after she won 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, at first she "wasn't playing my best tennis".
Andreescu couldn't have gotten off to a better start, quickly generating two break points on Mertens' opening service game. The second game lasted almost nine minutes and finished with Mertens holding serve.
Though Williams is still very much a contender at every tournament she plays, Andreescu is cementing her spot in a crop of exciting young players that include Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, as well as slightly older stars like Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty. She clinched the victory with a backhand victor, and then put her hands on her head in disbelief.
The Canadian will face Belinda Bencic of Switzerland for a place in Saturday's showpiece.
Bencic beat Donna Vekic of Croatia during her quarterfinal matchup and is seeking a fourth career title.
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In the semi-finals of a grand-slam match you can't expect an easy opponent. "He's like a lion in the middle of the jungle. Rafael Nadal , Matteo Berrettini , and Bianca Andreescu have qualified for the semifinals in the U.S.
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