Bianca Andreescu dropped to her knees and covered her face in visible relief before kissing the Aviva Centre’s hardcourt after advancing to the Rogers Cup final.
The 19-year-old from nearby Mississauga, Ont., held on for a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory over Sofia Kenin of the United States on Saturday afternoon. Andreescu said the emotional display was automatic after a gruelling second set that had her face five match points.
“All the emotions I had during that tiebreaker, I think my body just wanted to let it all out,” said Andreescu. “It’s just so incredible that I’m in the final of the Rogers Cup. I had zero expectations coming into this tournament.”
It’s also an incredible final for tournament organizers with Andreescu facing one of the greatest players of all time, Serena Williams. The American star, seeded eighth, downed Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday night.
WATCH | Bianca Andreescu rolls into Rogers Cup final:
Bianca Andreescu beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6(5) to become the 1st Canadian woman to reach the Rogers Cup finals since 1969. 2:20
It’s Andreescu’s first tournament after a right-shoulder injury sidelined her since the French Open in May.
She’s now won 16 consecutive matches where she has not retired due to injury, including victories over six of the top 10 players in the WTA. Her world ranking will rise from 27th to at least 19th on Monday.
Saturday’s win was Andreescu’s first match this week that did not go three sets. She has been on the court more than any other player at this year’s Rogers Cup at 10 hours 54 minutes.
All that playing after a lengthy layoff has taken a toll. Andreescu needed to have her legs wrapped and taped during the second set of a gritty quarterfinal win over Karolina Pliskova on Friday.
WATCH | Andreescu gets emotional in post-match press conference:
The Canadian teen spoke to the press after winning her semifinal match at the Rogers Cup. 10:19
She was taped up again for the semifinal against Kenin, the last woman to beat Andreescu in a full match at the Mexico Open in Acapulco back in February.
“Just with all that I’ve been through. The past couple of months have been so so so so tough,” said Andreescu about her post-match celebrations. “Just being able to be here right now is truly incredible.”
Andreescu is the first Canadian to make the Rogers Cup women’s final in 50 years. Faye Urban of Windsor, Ont., beat Vancouver’s Vicki Berner in the 1969 final, when the tournament was still played on clay courts and called the Canadian Open.
WATCH | Serena Williams advances to Rogers Cup final:
Serena Williams topped Marie Bouzkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, setting up a final against Canadian Bianca Andreescu. 0:45
“For sure there’s some pressure, but I have nothing to lose, really,” said Andreescu. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m just going to try and stay in the present moment.”
The partisan crowd did affect Kenin’s concentration.
“I don’t play in those kind of conditions, so it’s not like I can practise,” said Kenin. “I didn’t want to pay attention to that. I knew it was going to happen, so it wasn’t like a shock.
“I obviously expected this. I tried to just block it out and do the best I can.”
Monfils withdraws, clears way for Nadal title defence
Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal are off to the men’s final at the Rogers Cup.
Medvedev defeated fellow Russian Karen Khachanov 6-1, 7-6 (6) in the first of Saturday’s two semifinals at IGA Stadium.
Top-seed Rafael Nadal of Spain was scheduled to take on Gael Monfils of France in the other semifinal of the ATP Tour Masters 1000 series event later Saturday, but the latter player withdrew.
The final goes Sunday afternoon.
Khachanov, the No. 8 player in the world, was broken by Medvedev twice in a first set that took just 23 minutes.
Ranked right behind Khachanov at No. 9, Medvedev broke his opponent for a third time to go up 2-1 in the second set. But Khachanov broke right back and led 3-2 at the changeover.
Medvedev broke Khachanov again to go up 5-4 only to give it right back serving for the match in the next game.
Then up 7-6 in the tiebreak, Medvedev sealed it when his shot clipped the net and bounced in, ending a match that took one hour 23 minutes.
Medvedev, who lost last week’s final in Washington to Nick Kyrgios, is the first Russian to make the title showdown of the men’s tournament since Marat Safin won the event back in 2000 when it was called the du Maurier Open. Saturday also marked was the first time in the 30-year-old history of the Masters 1000 Series that two Russians had competed in a semifinal.
Monfils, ranked No. 20, and No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain were forced to play their weather-delayed quarterfinal Saturday afternoon — more than 18 hours after they left centre court when the skies opened up early in Friday’s first set.
Monfils beat Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) despite battling a sore left ankle much of the match, which lasted two hours 24 minutes following another lengthy rain delay.
The 32-year-old Frenchman lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2016 Rogers Cup semifinals in Toronto. He improved to 4-1 all-time against Bautista Agut, with his only loss coming in the third round here in 2017.
The world’s No. 2-ranked player, Nadal won his fourth Rogers Cup last year in Toronto.
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