Photo : Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open
Bianca Andreescu took the tennis world by storm in 2019. She won two WTA 1000 titles, including the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, the US Open, and finished the year inside the Top 5. She became such a force to be reckoned with that it seems like she has been on the pro tour for a long time, and yet is still just 21-years-old.
With Indian Wells coming up this Thursday, October 7, after an almost two-year hiatus for the event due to the COVID 19 pandemic, let’s look back at Andreescu’s first big title.
1. 2019 BNp Paribas Open
Firstly, Andreescu’s maiden WTA 1000 title was no walk in the park and the Canadian had many top players standing in the way of what was viewed as, at the time, an unlikely run to the championship.
Here’s what Bianca’s draw looked like:
|1st||Irina-Camelia Begu||70||–||6(3)-7, 6-3, 6-3|
|2nd||Dominika Cibulkova||35||32||6-2, 6-2|
|3rd||Stefanie Vogele||109||–||6-1, 6-2|
|4th||Wang Qiang||18||18||7-5, 6-2|
|QF||Garbine Muguruza||20||20||6-0, 6-1|
|SF||Elina Svitolina||6||6||6-3, 2-6, 6-4|
|F||Angelique Kerber||8||8||6-4, 3-6, 6-4|
Five of seven matches were against seeded players. Four of them were against Top 20, and two against Top 10. Add to that the entire Top 20 played the event, it was not necessarily a tournament “up for grabs” – rather it needed to be earned.
2. DID her 2018 season hint at a 2019 breakout?
Well, Andreescu started her pro career like any other player, competing in ITF events before trying her hand on the WTA Tour and attempting to crack the Top 100. This process can typically take a few years, and it doesn’t normally end in the player reaching the heights of World No. 5 within 12 months.
In fact, Andreescu did not play a single WTA Tour-level match in 2018, and did not qualify for any of the four Grand Slam main draws. The highest ranked player she beat was Vera Lapko, then World No. 78.
At the beginning of 2018, the Mississauga-native was ranked World No. 189. In 2019, she started the year at No. 152. Her last event of the 2018 season saw her clinch the title at an ITF event in Norman, Oklahoma.
3. 2019 season before Indian Wells
While Andreescu was not necessarily knocking on the door of greatness just yet, she was not just a lucky wildcard recipient either. The then 18-year-old had a record of 21 wins to 3 losses in 2019 before Indian Wells, collecting more victories than any other player on tour.
In Auckland in January, Andreescu lost to Julia Goerges (World No. 14, No. 2 seed) in the final, having earlier clinched a career-first Top 3 win by beating World No. 3 and top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the round of 16. And in the very next round, she beat none other than Venus Williams, then ranked World No. 39.
Here are some other impressive performances from early 2019:
- Qualified for the Australian Open main draw, losing in three sets to No. 12 seed Anastasija Sevastova in the second round.
- Didn’t drop a set in a dominant 4-0 Billie Jean King Cup victory over the Netherlands in which Andreescu won her two singles rubbers.
- Made the semi-finals at the Acapulco WTA 500, losing to Sofia Kenin (No. 5 seed) in three sets.
4. Bianca Makes herself known
In addition to the daunting entry list, although Andreescu had reached the final of the WTA event in Auckland earlier that year, it’s fair to say her breakout performance in “Tennis Paradise” was somewhat unexpected. She went into the event ranked No. 60 and entered as a wildcard. But, Andreescu simply forgot to read the script and instead rewrote it.
As a result of her triumph, her ranking catapulted to No. 24 after the Indian Wells title.
The rest is history (in the making).