Bianca Andreescu hits a backhand.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Bianca Andreescu’s first tour-level quarter-final on grass will have to wait, as the Canadian was narrowly defeated in the round of 16 of the bett1open in Berlin by fourth seed Karolina Pliskova.

The Canadian looked comfortable on the sport’s trickiest surface, giving the 2021 Wimbledon finalist all she could handle and breaking the Czech’s mighty serve four times, but ultimately came up a few points short in the deciding set as she fell 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(7).

Considering the Czech’s power is tailor-made for the slick grass, it was Andreescu striking more winners with 34 to Pliskova’s 31. The Canadian also created more break points, 11 to 6. Both women had 31 unforced errors.

It was the first serve percentage that let Andreescu down, as she only put 54 percent in play. In the end, the Canadian actually won two more points in the match than her victorious opponent.

Andreescu appeared to have the early momentum when she held serve from love-40 down in the fourth game of the opening set, only to turn around and break in the following game.

It did not last, however, as she was unable to climb out of the same hole attempting to consolidate the break. Pliskova broke right back to love to level the set at 3-all.

Considering grass is a surface that is supposed to benefit the server, both women did a good job of getting into their opponent’s service games in the opening set. The last three games of the set saw the server pushed to deuce, with Pliskova striking at the perfect moment, breaking Andreescu again in the tenth game to take the opening set.

The Canadian wasted no time putting the disappointment of the first set behind her, breaking twice as she raced out to a 4-0 lead in the second set. Two breaks was plenty for Andreescu, who never faced a break point on her own serve as she forced a deciding set.

Once again, it was Andreescu striking early in the third set, breaking for a 2-1 lead with a beautiful drop shot followed by a volley to draw an error.

It looked like the one break would be enough for the Canadian, who won her first 17 points on serve in the deciding set, including four love holds. However, when she finally lost a point as she served for the match at 5-4, it seemingly opened the floodgates as she double-faulted on the first break point of the set she faced to level the set at 5-all.

The Canadian very nearly got the break right back in the 11th game, but could not convert two break points.

A final-set tiebreak saw both women hold minibreak leads, but it was Pliskova keeping her foot in front in the latter stages. Despite being tied 5-all, 6-all and 7-all, Andreescu was never able to find her way to match point and the Czech ripped a forehand winner on her third to clinch the victory.

Andreescu is expected to play one more warm-up event on grass, the 250-level Bad Homburg Open, next week ahead of Wimbledon, which begins on June 27.