19-year-old Bianca Andreescu is a first-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist, reaching the last eight of the US Open on the back of an entertaining 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 win over American Taylor Townsend.

The match was always going to be contest of variety – which of these two players would be able to execute their improvisational games to greater effect? Would it be Andreescu and her complete toolkit of shots who would be able to out-play her American opponent from all corners of the court? Or would qualifier Townsend’s commitment to the nostalgic serve-and-volley style pay dividends in her seventh match at the US Open this year?

Photo: Mauricio Paiz

In the first set, it was all Andreescu. Recovering from a shaky albeit small 15-30 hole in her first service game of the set appeared to energize the 19 year old right out of the gates, as she unloaded on her return games to race off to a quick 4-0 lead in less than 20 minutes.

Although she’d wobble with three double faults in the fifth game of the set, another break in the following game all but sealed the one-set advantage for Andreescu, who promptly served it out to move within a set of her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Townsend, however, would not go down without a fight. In parallel with Andreescu’s electric start to the first set, the 23-year-old American would rocket out to her own lead in the second set following a clutch hold of serve in the first game. Although Andreescu would find the tennis to reel her back even, a miracle down-the-line forehand at 30-30 in the 10th game would set up set point for Townsend on the Canadian’s serve.

One untimely double fault later and the match was levelled at a set apiece.

As the clock struck midnight and Monday’s night session became Tuesday’s morning session, Andreescu began the decisive set with renewed focus. She was able to immediately break the Townsend serve courtesy of larger margins off her booming groundstrokes and quelling the American’s serve-and-volley challenges with feet-licking returns.

Sprinting to triple match point on the qualifier’s serve, Andreescu would go for glory on several low-margin shots but came up short. After a fourth match point came and went, it was on the 15th seed’s racquet to secure her place in the quarter-finals.

Nerves serving it out? None. In four perfect points on serve, it was over with one final Townsend backhand return into the net.

A tidy 33 winners to 26 unforced errors were tallied on the Canadian No. 1’s stat sheet, in addition to winning a remarkable 50% of all return points play. Although Andreescu hit 8 double faults (egged on by a few untimely cheers coming from the pro-Townsend American crowd), she remained dominant on serve, claiming 70% of first serve points and finding success in 17 of 26 points played at the net – effectively beating her opponent at her own game (Townsend was just 16 on 40 in net points).

Up next for Andreescu is No. 25 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium in a wide-open half of the draw following the upset exit of top seed Naomi Osaka at the hands of nemesis Belinda Bencic. Not a single Grand Slam champion – or even finalist – remains in the way of prospective Grand Slam glory for the 19-year-old Canadian.