Photo : Mauricio Paz
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek doesn’t get tested on the court a whole lot these days, but that’s exactly what Bianca Andreescu accomplished on Monday night in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
The 22-year-old Canadian may have lost the feature match of the evening session 6-3, 7-6(1) but she showed why she can still go toe-to-toe with the best players in the world and why she shines brightest on the biggest stages. Andreescu started the contest with a statement break of serve in the opening game only to give it right back when she stepped to the line for the first time. She had chances to take the lead again at 2-2 but couldn’t convert her opportunities which ended up being the opening Swiatek needed to kick her game into another gear and eventually take a one set lead. Still, the games were tightly contested and often went to deuce before being decided.
It was more of the same in set two as the impressive shot-making continued to flow from the racquets of both players. Andreescu won four games in a row to erase a 0-2 deficit and find herself ahead for the first time in the match. Meanwhile, Swiatek once again displayed her champion’s mentality despite some growing frustration and successfully steadied the ship just in time by regaining control of the rallies. Dictating proceedings once again, the Pole reeled off her own streak of three consecutive games to find herself serving for the match. But Andreescu wasn’t ready for the handshake just yet as she broke serve once again with her back against the wall thanks to a great combination of defence and counterpunching. The second frame was ultimately decided in a tiebreak which Swiatek dominated from start to finish to wrap up a very entertaining match of the highest quality in straight sets.
Despite the loss, this is the type of performance that Andreescu can build on and use to propel the rest of her season as she continues her rise back to the top of the sport. On Monday, she sent a message to the rest of the WTA Tour that indeed she’s still got game.