Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Bianca Andreescu will have to wait to become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title in both singles and doubles, as her bid for a maiden doubles crown came up just short on Thursday at Roland-Garros.
She and New Zealander partner Michael Venus fell in a tight mixed doubles final to Miyu Kato and Tim Puetz 4-6, 6-4, [10-6] in Paris. Andreescu was competing in not just her first mixed doubles Grand Slam final, but her first mixed doubles event at a major.
With a win, Andreescu would have become the fifth active player to have won major titles in both singles and doubles, as well as being the lone Canadian ever to accomplish the feat.
While Kato and Puetz were the more aggressive pair in the match, hitting 33 winners to their opponents’ 24, Andreescu and Venus were the cleaner team with just 13 unforced errors to the eventual champions’ 21. The Canadian-New Zealander duo will be left regretting converting just two of 10 break points.
Overall, Andreescu and Venus won three more points in defeat.
It was a tricky start for Andreescu and Venus as the New Zealander was broken in the opening game.
The turning point of the opening set came the second time Venus served at 1-3 when a fortunate net cord went their way on break point before Andreescu closed out the game on the deciding point with a volley winner to avoid going down a double break point.
From 2-4 down, the Canadian and her New Zealander teammate went on a run, winning four games in a row to take the opening set.
Opportunities were there for Andreescu and Venus on the Kato serve in the second set, but they were unable to convert a pair of break points. That cost them when Venus found himself in trouble again at 4-4 and, despite saving two break points, was broken to set up Puetz to serve out the set.
The German got tight as he looked to close, but Kato bailed her partner out with a pair of volley winners to save break points and send the match to a super tiebreak.
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In the breaker, it was once again Venus’ serve that proved decisive. Serving at 3-4, the New Zealander double-faulted and then sent a forehand long to give two minibreaks to Kato and Puetz. That was enough cushion for the Japanese-German pair, who hung on to claim the title.
Canada’s hope for a champion’s trophy in Paris now rest with Leylah Annie Fernandez. She and partner Taylor Townsend will be competing in the women’s doubles semifinals on Friday.