Bianca Andreescu has made no secret that Simona Halep has been an idol of hers for some time. It therefore felt appropriate that the two should meet on one of the biggest stages in tennis, positioned side by side in the WTA Tour rankings – Andreescu at No. 4 and Halep at No. 5.

The Canadian has clearly not lost her rhythm in the weeks that have past since her quarter-finals loss to Naomi Osaka at the China Open, but she was unable to return to action with a win in Shenzhen as she fell to a 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 loss to Halep.

The first set began with a bang as the pair exchanged breaks of serve in quick succession. Andreescu then took a 40:0 lead in the next game but was unable to close out the three break points available as Halep battled back.

The Canadian would make amends, however, by breaking Halep’s serve twice more to claim the first set 6-3. The set-winning point came after a mesmerising exchange of powerful forehands concluded with Halep smashing one into the net.

A two-time Grand Slam champion, the Romanian was not going to go down without a fight. She began the second set with an increased intensity, one that saw her break Andreescu’s serve twice in the space of just three games to take the lead. The Canadian did come back and force a tiebreak but Halep held her nerve to clinch it 8-6 and therefore the set 7-6(6).

If you thought the third set wouldn’t have as much drama as the previous two, you were mistaken. Five breaks of serve in total saw Andreescu and Halep battle tooth and nail to claim their opening victory of the finals. Unfortunately for the Canadian, it was her opponent who came through with the win, taking the final set 6-3.

(Feature photo: Getty)