Auckland | Andreescu, the new rising star
It seems a new star is fast rising in the form of Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian who has become the giant-killer of Auckland after qualifying for the ASB Classic being held in the second largest city in New Zealand.
I've pictured myself beating top players like this and really it's just a dream come true, I know I have the level. Bianca Andreescu
Ranked 152 she opened her campaign this week with a straight set win over Hungary’s Timea Barbos and then surprised everyone by taking out the top seed and world No.3 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-4 only to follow up that win with another excellent result, this time recovering from a first set loss to upset the experienced Venus Williams 6-7(1) 6-1 6-3.
Her progress continued for on the third day she made the final with a solid 6-3 6-3 performance over Su Wei Hsieh, the third seed.
After defeating Wozniacki the teenager said it was “a dream come true” playing against top players on a stadium like this, in front of a huge crowd”.
She also admitted to being surprised at beating top class players so early in her career. “I’ve pictured myself beating top players like this and really it’s just a dream come true,” while confidently adding: “I know I have the level.”
Following advice form Simona Halep, Andreescu turned professional early to start learning her trade against much stronger opposition and she has proved to be a fast learner.
“In juniors, you can [afford to] slide off a couple of points here and there. Everyone knows how to play tennis but it’s the mind that really controls everything,” she told CBC Sports.
In 2017 she reached her career-high ranking of 143, but as set her goal for a place in the top 50.
Andreescu faces the defending champion Julia Goerges for the title, the German having beaten Viktoria Kuzmova 6-1 7-6(6) having progressed through the bottom half with relative ease. Her only major problem was caused by Eugenie Bouchard in their quarter-final clash, who came near to dismissing the German only to fall in the deciding set tie-break 3-6 6-3 7-6(6)