Getting to know Bianca Andreescu
In the middle of the first week of the just-concluded U.S. Open, Bianca Andreescu said, “I can win the US Open. Every tournament I enter, I expect to win.” Those affirmative words attracted the attention of more than a few, although she was not considered as one of those who could prevent Serena Williams from achieving her quest for a 24th Grand Slam.
Possibility searchlight was on Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and perhaps, Coco Gauff.In a way, the draws eliminated some of those probabilities. The first and second seeds were clearly separated from any possible meeting until the finals. The third seed was placed in the second bracket, for a likely semifinal berth with the top seed, while the fourth was in the lower half of the draw with the second seed. The 15th-seeded Bianca was placed in slot 48 in the upper half of the draw, while eighth-seeded Serena was in spot 95 in the lower half of the draw. We did not focus on Bianca because, somehow, we did not look at her record from January.
Bianca’s climb started with her narrow three-set victory over Nigerian-American Whitney Osuigwe at the Australian Open. Osuigwe was world number one Junior in ITF ranking and won the junior event at Roland Garros in 2017. Bianca had to play through qualifying to face Whitney in the first round when she won with 124 points to Whitney’s 117. What difference seven points could have made in the 7/6; 6/7; 6/3 result? Bianca lost to Anastasija Sevastova 6/3; 3/6; 6/2 in the second round two days later.
Later in January, she won the Oracle Challenger. On March 2, she lost 6/4; 3/6; 7/5 to American Sue Kenin in the semi-finals of the Mexican Open. It turned out to be her last loss leading to New York.In Indian Wells, she faced Romanian qualifier, Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round on Court Two in the Californian desert. Bianca took the first set 7/6, dropped the second 3/6 and prevailed 6/3. Then, in succession, she defeated Dominika Cibulkova 6/2, 6/2; Swiss Sue Vogele 6/1; 6/2, China’s Qiang Wang 7/5; 6/; Wimbledon and French Open Champion Garbine Muguruza, 6/0; 6/1; Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6/3; 2/6; 6/4 and Angelique Kerber 6/4; 3/6; 6/4 for her first career WTA title.
A week later, in Miami, she defeated Begu in the first round, 4/6; 7/6(2); 6/2, and subsequently, American Sue Kenin 6/3; 6/3; Kerber 6/4; 4/6; 6/1; and retired to Estonia’s Anet Kontaveit 6/1; 2/0. At Roland Garros, she defeated Czechia’s Marie Bouzkova 5/7; 6/4, 6/4 in the first round but withdrew before her second round match with Sue Kenin.
On August 7, at the Canadian Championships, she defeated compatriot Eugenie Bouchard 46; 6/1; 6/4 and on the same day Daria Kasatkina 5/7; 2/6; 7/5. On the next day, she defeated Kiki Bertens 6/1; 6/7(9); 6/4; then Karolina Pliskova 6/0; 2/6; 6/4 in the quarters, Sue Kenin 6/4; 7/6(7) in the semis and on August 11, she took the title when Serena retired while down 1/3 in first set. Bianca’s first round match in Cincinnati was cancelled on August 12.
She arrived in New York and was seeded 15. In the first round, she defeated American Katie Volynets 6/2; 6/4 then successively, Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6/3; 7/5, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki 6/4; 6/4, American Taylor Townsend 6/1; 4/6; 6/2, Belgium’s Elise Mertens 3/6; 6/2; 6/3, Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 7/6(3); 7/5 and Serena Williams 6/3; 7/5.Prior to the commencement of the show in New York, Pam Shriver said of Bianca: “The great ones who are groomed to be champs, they expect to win.” By winning the first Grand Slam on her debut, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu confirmed she belongs in that elite group.