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Amazing Auckland run just the start for Andreescu

Jan 06, 2019
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Tennis seasons don’t start much better than they did for Bianca Andreescu and Genie Bouchard down in Auckland, New Zealand.

At the ASB Classic, Andreescu won eight consecutive matches from qualifying all the way through to the final before finishing runner-up to defending champ Julia Goerges, while Genie Bouchard followed up a quarter-final finish in singles with the trophy in doubles alongside American Sofia Kenin.

Andreescu came oh-so-close to her first career WTA title at the ripe age of 18, pushing Goerges, seeded No. 2, all the way to her limits, at one point coming within a game of the title. The Canadian would eventually run out of steam, while Goerges found her second wind, which she would ride all the way to the title in a 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 decision.

“At 5-4 in the second set it was really hard for me to stay in the moment. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m one game away from winning the tournament,‘” Andreescu admitted after the match. “But Julia dominated at that point; she just started going for her shots, so congratulations to her.

“It’s amazing, I’ve played my best tennis this week. I love these courts, I love everyone here.”

It’s hard not to get excited about the young Mississauga native’s prospects for the coming year. After battling through difficult injuries throughout 2018, her progress at the top level appeared to stagnate. But after a lengthy several weeks of hard off-season training, Andreescu arrives in 2019 fit and confident as ever. She’s added an extra zip to her groundstrokes and stabilized her serve, giving her the room to be creative with her variety.

As noted by WTA writer Alex Macpherson, en route to the final, Andreescu defeated three Top 30 players (two of which were former World No. 1’s) with three distinctly different styles. Against Caroline Wozniacki, she out-defended, against Venus Williams she out-hit and against Hsieh Su-Wei, she out-crafted. All of this bodes well as she sees her ranking sky-rocket to just on the fringe of the WTA’s Top 100.

Bouchard’s week ended on the best note possible following a narrow defeat in singles. She and Kenin claimed the doubles crown – the first doubles win for either player – with a 1-6, 6-1, [10-7] triumph over wild cards Paige Mary Hourigan and Taylor Townsend.

The Canadian-American duo won all three of their doubles matches in match tiebreaks, showing their clutch and chemistry as a team despite never playing together before. Interestingly, the first of Bouchard’s previous three runner-up finishes was alongside Townsend all the way back in 2013 at the Citi Open in Washington.

Both Andreescu and Bouchard head into the Australian Open with plenty of momentum. The 18-year-old kicks off her qualifying campaign later this coming week, while Bouchard has a week of rest before finding out who she plays in the first round of the first Grand Slam of the season.