Photo: Martin Sidorjak
Second round action continued today at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and it was a lucky day for Canadian tennis fans as Bianca Andreescu and Leylah Annie Fernandez were playing back to back on Court 3 of the Foro Italico in Rome.
The first match of the Canadian double pitted Andreescu, ranked no. 90 in the world, against world no. 51 Nuria Parrizas-Diaz of Spain, a player who continues to climb the WTA rankings and has upset many top rivals in the past, including world no. 36 Sara Sorribes Tormo en route to the semifinals of this year’s Monterrey event.
However, despite a hard-fought battle, the Spaniard was unable to break Andreescu’s serve on the day which resulted in a 6-3, 7-6(4) straight sets victory for the Canadian to secure her place in the Round of 16 for the third straight tournament.
Andreescu started the match strong and in full command of her game. Although it took the Ontario native until the eighth game of the opening set to take a decisive lead, she clearly dominated her opponent, outperforming her in every statistical category (success rate on first and second serves, break points won and saved, aces, success on returns, etc.).
However, the momentum shifted early in the second set when Parrizas-Diaz won three straight games to take control. This turn of events could have rattled some players, but not Andreescu. Showing unparalleled composure and nearly flawless defense, she staged a sensational comeback, winning four straight games to take a 4-3 lead. The set was full of twists and turns and was finally decided in a tiebreak, which the Canadian won without much difficulty.
In the next round, Andreescu will face world no. 47 Petra Martic of Croatia, a player she has never faced before. The quarter-finalist at Indian Wells last March is not to be underestimated. This season, she has seven wins over Top 50 players, the most recent of which came this week in Rome when she eliminated world no. 5 Anett Kontaveit.
The match will be shown tomorrow on TSN and DAZN.
Fernandez falls in the second round
In the second match of the day featuring a Canadian, Quebec’s Leylah Annie Fernandez, ranked no. 18 in the world, unfortunately fell in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) to world no. 23 Daria Kasatkina.
The opening set was a roller coaster ride. Fernandez took a quick lead, taking the first three games, but Kasatkina came back to level the score at 4-4. The final game of the set also kept the spectators on the edge of their seats as Fernandez needed 17 points to break serve and win the set.
In the second set, the two players remained even until the seventh game. After four unsuccessful attempts, Kasatkina broke for the first time and then a second to close out the set 6-3 and force a decider.
Like the rest of the contest, the final set was hard fought with Fernandez and Kasatkina saving their best serving performances for the very end (78% and 85% first serve success rates, respectively). In the end, a tiebreak was needed to decide the match, and after 2 hours and 47 minutes, it was Kasatkina who put the final touches on the thrilling encounter with a 7-6(2) victory.