Bianca Andreescu picked up right where she left off on Monday at the Beijing Open, resuming her winning ways in her first match since triumphing at the US Open three weeks ago and qualifying for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
The 19-year-old, who now finds herself at No. 5 in the WTA rankings, defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in just under two hours at the Premier Mandatory event in the Chinese capital.
It was a topsy-turvy affair for Andreescu, who fell down a break early but stormed back with authority to seal the first set. As has been the trend in 2019 for the Canadian, she had a lapse in concentration in the second set, relinquishing it by the same score as Sasnovich remained steady in her baseline game.
However, in addition to a penchant for three-setters, another trend for Andreescu has been winning them. Sure enough, she would recalibrate her game, using slice to great effect to throw off the rhythm of her unseeded Belarusian opponent and break out to an early lead, ultimately claiming her first victory in three weeks and her first ever at a tour-level event in China.
Perhaps even more important than the result itself: Andreescu has officially qualified for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen courtesy of the first-round win. She’ll make her debut at the crown jewel of the WTA calendar, an event offering up a record-setting $14M in prize money and where she could have the chance to earn the World No. 1 rankings depending on the efforts of reigning No. 1 Ashleigh Barty this week in China.
Andreescu becomes the first Canadian since Genie Bouchard back in 2014 to qualify for the WTA Finals and the fourth ever. Additionally, aged 19 years old, the Mississauga native becomes the youngest player to qualify for the season-ending championship since Caroline Wozniacki did so back in 2009.
“This has been an incredible year for me and I’m really looking forward to ending the season at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen,” said Andreescu. “I’ve always dreamt of competing at the WTA Finals and I’m so proud of all the work my team and I put in to get to this point.”
Andreescu on a roll: "I don't want to sound like cocky or anything, but I kind of forgot how it feels to lose, which I think is a good thing. When I meditate, I always make sure to feel the feeling of myself winning. It's good that I forgot the other feeling.” #ChinaOpen pic.twitter.com/XWAqjr9Eg7
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) September 30, 2019
Ottawa’s Gaby Dabrowski also joins Andreescu in Shenzhen, having also qualified for the WTA Finals following Monday’s doubles results in Beijing. It will be her third consecutive appearance at the event, and her third competing alongside long-time partner Xu Yifan.
“It’s an honour to have made the year-end championships for the third time in a row, and to have another opportunity to compete against the best in the world,” said Dabrowski to WTATennis.com. “We are especially pleased that doubles will have the same round robin format as singles, and we are looking forward to a great final week of tennis.”
(Feature photo: China Open)