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Youth upsets experience as Andreescu, Branstine advance at Rogers Cup

Aug 10, 2017
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Earlier this year Bianca Andreescu and Carson Branstine won the girls’ doubles title at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. Their junior Grand Slam results warranted a wildcard into the Rogers Cup doubles main draw.

Their first round opponents were Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who are both Top 20 players in the WTA rankings.

Bianca Andreescu and Carson Branstine of Canada during first round of Rogers Cup Women’s Doubles tennis tournament in Toronto, Canada, 09 August, 2017.

Andreescu (17-years-old) and Branstine (16-years-old) are both making their main draw debuts at this year’s Rogers Cup in Toronto. Andreescu also received a wildcard into the singles draw but fell in the first round to Timea Babos.

The young Canadian duo fell behind a double break to begin the match, trailing 4-1. Nerves were to be expected from the teenagers, but maturity shined bright as they were able to get back on serve in dire moments. As Mladenovic was serving for the first set at 5-4 with a break, the Frenchwoman double faulted and put the match back on serve at 5-5. Andreescu would follow up their break with a hold at 15.

The Canadians earned two break (set) points in the following game. The first was saved by Mladenovic with a smash winner. On the second chance Andreescu hit a backhand volley through the centre of the court to take the first set 7-5.

Branstine served to begin the second set and was broken. The Canadians found themselves in a similar scenario once again as they trailed 4-1 in the set. They could not mount another comeback, eventually dropping the set 6-2, and headed for a super tiebreak in the third set.

The super tiebreak began with four consecutive mini breaks. Even at 2-2, Andreescu serving, Branstine set herself up under a lob and put away a smash winner for the first service hold. A big “come on!” from Branstine raised the crowd to their feet.

Even at 4-4, Branstine hit the first double fault of the tiebreak and gave the French-Russian pair another mini break lead. They recovered in the following point as Mladenovic netted a backhand, but the Canadians fell behind once again for a 7-5 deficit.

This became a turning point in the match as the Canadians showed maturity and resiliency beyond their years to stay in the match and continuously rally to get back on even terms.

Down 7-5, Andreescu stepped up to the service line with a hop in her step and controlled a rally from the baseline until Pavlyuchenkova committed an error. A few moments later Branstine ripped a forehand from the baseline at Mladenovic who could not handle the pace and gave the mini break back once again. It was all about the Canadian teenagers from that point on.

Even at 8-8, Branstine hit an unreturnable serve to Mladenovic, who’s forehand sailed wide of the tramlines and brought up match point for the Canadians. Mladenovic served to Andreescu in the following point. A couple of quick reflex volleys by Branstine kept the Canadians in the rally, then Branstine hit a backhand volley towards Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian could not control the pace and netted her own volley.

The Canadians won five of the last six points for their first Rogers Cup win in front of a home crowd. They took the match 7-5, 2-6, 10-8.

Andreescu and Branstine will now face top seeds and defending Rogers Cup champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina on Thursday afternoon from Aviva Centre.