Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Grass court Bianca Andreescu has arrived.
The Mississauga native won her first tour-level grass court match on Tuesday at the Viking International Eastbourne in three sets over American Christina McHale.
It took Andreescu some time to get her feet under her in the match, but by set three she settled in and found her rhythm, pounding McHale around the court and eventually emerging victorious 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
The match was a back and forth affair with nine breaks of serve, five of them going the way of the third seeded Canadian, including two in the final set.
Eastbourne is only Andreescu’s third main draw appearance at a grass court event. She competed at Wimbledon in 2017 and last week in Berlin, losing in the first round on both occassions.
Andreescu started quickly in the first set, getting an early break for a 3-1 lead, but McHale started to play her way into the set the longer it went.
The Canadian was forced to save break points in the seventh game, but she survived.
Two games later as she served for the set, Andreescu was not so lucky as she let went down love-40 and was eventually broken to let McHale back on serve.
However, the Canadian was not to be denied. She went back to basics, hitting big right up the middle at McHale and was rewarded with three set points in the very next game. Andreescu only needed two as she drew an error to break again and take the opening set.
The second set quickly became a write-off for Andreescu as she was broken in the opening game.
As the set progressed, she began to show frustration, particularly with some of the line calling, and it appeared to affect her game as the Canadian struggled to strike the ball cleanly.
The middle of the second set saw three straight breaks of serve, starting with a disgruntled Andreescu giving away a second break for 4-1.
She briefly rallied and broke right back to keep the deficit to just one break, only to give McHale the double break again when she sent a swinging volley well wide.
Andreescu had a number of break point chances to make it four in a row as McHale served for the set, but she was unable to convert and the American hung on to send the match to a deciding set.
After dropping the second, the Canadian hit the reset button to start the third set and immediately broke for a 2-0 lead. She promptly consolidated the break with a hold to love.
Up a break, Andreescu now had her rhythm and never let McHale get back into the set. She did not face a break point on her own serve and then broke the American for a second time to wrap up the victory.
In the end, Andreescu saved four of eight break points against her serve while converting five of her 13 opportunities. She also won 68 percent of her first serve points, although she committed four double faults to just one ace.
The Canadian will meet either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Anett Konteveit in the second round.
Vasek Pospisil wins first match since March
Vasek Pospisil snapped his four-match losing streak and defeated Brit wildcard James Ward 6-4, 6-4. He now leads their head-to-head 3-1.
Pospisil is playing in only his sixth event of the year. He hopes to regain his form at the Viking International Eastbourne – his final pit stop before Wimbledon.
Last week at the Noventi Open, Pospisil lost his opening round match against American Marcos Giron. The match needed two tiebreaks, which were both won by Giron. It wasn’t a bad return for Pospisil, who hadn’t played since the Miami Open in March. He had 10 aces, one double fault, and won 84 percent of points on first serves.
That consistency carried over to today’s contest. Pospisil had nine aces, one double fault, and won 91 percent of points on first serves.
The Canadian played near-identical sets, breaking his opponent in both third games and not allowing Ward a chance to break back. Pospisil fought off the only break point he faced in the fourth game of the second set with ease.
Pospisil advances to the round of 16 and will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain on Wednesday. The last time Pospisil played in the round of 16 in Eastbourne was against the 19-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic.