Nothing at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank could rain on Bianca Andreescu’s parade. Not even the rain.
Following a weather delay, the 19 year old from Mississauga came out and defeated World No. 5 Kiki Bertens for the first time in her professional career, winning a tough three-setter 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-4. Bertens managed to save three match points, before finally Andreescu converted on her fourth match point to close it out nearly three and half hours after it started. The Canadian sets up a showdown with the No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals in what promises to be an electric match between two players who have never met before.
Andreescu’s skill set was on full display Thursday afternoon – especially in the opening set against Bertens. The Canadian teen was scoring points using a mix of powerful forehand winners and delicate drop shots. Reaffirming the idea that no two consecutive shots from Andreescu are ever the same, which keeps her opponents off balance.
That could be one of many problems for Pliskova. On top of the fact that Andreescu will have home-court advantage on Friday, she has been absolutely dominant against the WTA’s Top 10 in 2019. With her latest win against Bertens, Bianca has a perfect 5-0 record against the Top 10 and a 24-4 match record this season. So although she will be making her first-ever appearance in a Rogers Cup quarter-final, Andreescu has to feel good about that.
On the other side of things, the current World No. 3 will present many challenges for the versatile Canadian. In her 6-3, 7-5 victory over Anett Kontaveit, Pliskova leaned on her strengths. She won 80% of her first-service points, having also tallied 6 aces in the match. It’s no secret that Pliskova holds one of the WTA’s best serves. She came into this event having notched 346 aces, 17 more than the next closest player (Bertens).
Pliskova enters the quarters with plenty of experience. The five-time winner on tour has played in six main draws at Rogers Cup. However, she’s never gone past the quarter-finals at this major Canadian stop. Her previous best result at Rogers Cup took place the last time this event was held in Toronto. Back in 2017, the 27 year old from Czech Republic lost as the No. 1 seed to the eventual runner-up Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals.
If Pliskova were to get past Andreescu and reach the semis at Rogers Cup for the first time in her career, she would have a chance at becoming the new World No. 1.
SVITOLINA EXTENDS TORONTO WINNING STREAK to advance
Speaking of 2017, the last champion of this event in Toronto also advanced to the quarter-finals on Thursday. In clash of champions on National Bank Grandstand, World No. 7 Elina Svitolina took down Belinda Bencic in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. It marks the seventh match in a row that the Ukrainian has won in Toronto.
Although the scoreline suggests it might have been easy path to the quarter-finals for Svitolina, she certainly had her challenges. On top of the four missed match points and a 90-minute rain delay, the No. 6 seed had issues with her ankle early on. She was forced her to have to take a medical timeout early on, and admitted post-match that she’ll likely be in some discomfort during her quarter-final match on Friday against Sofia Kenin.
The American might just be primed for another upset though. She looked impressive in her 57-minute, 6-2, 6-2 effort against another Ukrainian in Dayana Yastremska. Kenin has looked impressive in her Rogers Cup debut and in recent months. She scored the biggest win of her career earlier in the week, in a come-from-behind victory over the reigning World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4.
Kenin also now has four wins against the Top 10 this season. On top of the upset against Barty, the 20 year old from Florida also took down Serena Williams in the third round at Roland-Garros. It’s obvious that she isn’t afraid of the big stage, nor of any player on tour – something that could prove very dangerous for Svitolina in their date in the quarters on Friday.