Following a breakout year for them both, Bianca Andreescu and Félix Auger-Aliassime have been nominated for WTA and ATP Awards respectively. Andreescu is up for the 2019 WTA Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year prizes, while Auger-Aliassime has been shortlisted for Most Improved Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year on the ATP Tour.
Andreescu’s meteoric rise in 2019, which saw her jump from No. 152 to a career-high No. 4 in the rankings before settling as the year-end’s No. 5, has been nothing short of remarkable. It all started with an unlikely run at the Auckland Open in January, where she beat Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams before losing to Julia Goerges in the final. Later that month she won the Oracle Challenger Series event in Newport Beach.
However, the very best was still to come. In March, the teenager shocked the tennis world as she claimed the BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Angelique Kerber of Germany in the final, becoming the first Canadian to win a Premier Mandatory event.
Injury plagued Andreescu for the next few months as she was forced to pull out of the Miami Open in the round of 16 and the French Open ahead of her second-round match with Sofia Kenin of the United States. It wasn’t until Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Toronto that fans would get to see her back on the court.
Let’s just say it was well worth the wait.
Andreescu blew away the field as she swept aside the likes of fifth-seed Kiki Bertens and third-seed Karolina Pliskova en route to the final, where she would face none other than Serena Williams. In front of a packed house at Sobeys Stadium, Williams could only last four sets before she was forced to retire through injury, meaning Andreescu claimed the title – becoming the first Canadian in 50 years, since Faye Urban in 1969, to lift the trophy.
Bianca Andreescu vs. Serena Williams: The Story of the #RC19 Final. 📽️
Re-live the stunning conclusion to what was one of our best tournaments ever, featuring the first Canadian champion in 50 years: @Bandreescu_! 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/uEs4ut0EA9
— Rogers Cup (@rogerscup) August 11, 2019
But Bianca wasn’t done yet.
Her historic run to the final of the US Open just one month later saw the Canadian defeat Wozniacki (seeded 19th), Elise Mertens (seeded 25th) and Belinda Bencic (seeded 13th) to set up yet another clash with Williams – this time at the cavernous, 23,000-seater Arthur Ashe Stadium with the chance of winning a Grand Slam title. In what has already gone down in the country’s sporting history, Andreescu beat the American 6-3, 7-5 to become the first Canadian ever to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Andreescu’s head-turning form earned her a place at the year-end WTA Finals, although she was forced to pull out of the event midway through her second match due to injury. She finished the 2019 season with a stunning 48-7 record.
Take a look at who else was nominated for the 2019 WTA Awards.
Auger-Aliassime’s year truly kicked started in February when he made a run to his first ATP final at the Rio Open in Brazil. The Montrealer ended up losing 6-3, 7-5 to Laslo Djere but the experience gave him a taste of what was to come.
A month later, the teenager went through two rounds of qualifying at the Miami Open before going on an incredible run to the semi-finals, which included victories over 17th-seed Nikoloz Bailashvili and 11th-seed Borna Coric. Unfortunately, in an agonizingly-close match, Auger-Aliassime came up just short against seventh-seed John Isner of the United States, losing 7-6(3), 7-6(4).
It wasn’t until the Lyon Open in May that the youngster experienced another deep run at an event. In France, Auger-Aliassime reached the final where he faced Benoit Paire who, on home soil and in front of a home crowed, won 6-4, 6-3. In June, he was again a runner up – this time at the Stuttgart Open after losing 6-4, 7-6(11) to Matteo Berrettini in the final.
A week later, Auger-Aliassime produced impressive displays to overcome Nick Kyrgios of Australia and former junior rival Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on his way to the semi-finals of the Queen’s Club Championships, where he was beaten 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4 by Feliciano Lopez of Spain.
In front of a home crowd at Rogers Cup in Montreal, Auger-Aliassime overcame compatriots Vasek Pospisil (6-2, 6-7, 7-6) and Milos Raonic (6-3, 3-6, Ret.) before losing to Karen Khachanov of Russia in the round of 16.
For his exploits throughout the year, the 19-year-old qualified for the ATP Next Gen event in Milan but pulled out due to injury with the hope of returning to action for the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.
He was named part of the team by captain Frank Dancevic and, after Team Canada reached the final for the first time in the country’s history, got the opportunity to play against Roberto Bautista Agut. Unfortunately, Auger-Aliassime lost 7-6(3), 6-3 before Denis Shapovalov was beaten by World No. 1 Rafael Nadal as Spain claimed their sixth title.
The Canadian’s remarkable year saw him leap from No. 108 to a career-high No. 17 before settling as the year-end No. 21 on the ATP Tour.
Take a look at who else was nominated for the 2019 ATP Awards.
(Feature photo: Jared Wickerham/Tennis Canada)