Toronto | Andreescu becomes champion as Williams retires
It wasn’t the final the organisers or fans wanted though the result was as Bianca Andreescu became the first home player to win the Canadian Open since Faye Urban in 1969!
I’m speechless right now. This has been a dream come true, really Bianca Andreescu
The final of the WTA Premier event in Toronto, now known as the Rogers Cup, with Andreescu facing Serena Williams, was eagerly awaited but to everyone’s disappointment, lasted just four games as Williams, chasing her fourth Canadian title, pulled up with a back strain bringing her challenge to a tearful end.
At the time the 19-year-old Andreescu was leading the veteran 23-time Grand Slam champion 3-1 with a break when it became obvious she couldn’t continue as an on-court microphone caught the 37-year-old American explaining she was suffering from back spasms as the teenager consoled her idol.
Later the official reason was given as an upper back injury which caused her retirement in what would have been her 73rd title had she been successful, and her first since giving birth to her daughter.
More importantly perhaps is that it is a major disruption to her preparations for the US Open starting August 26 where she is hoping to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles. And its not the first time she has had problems this year which has seen her performances disrupted by a nagging knee problem which has restricted her to just 24 matches all season.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t do it today,” she told the crowd, her voice trembling. “I tried, but I couldn’t do it.
“Bianca you’re a great sports person – woman. Thanks to my team, it’s been a tough year, but we’ll keep going.”
An empathetic Andreescu told Williams: “I know how it is to pull out of tournaments and be injured, it’s not easy. This wasn’t the way I expected to win and for you to go off the court. I’ve watched you play so many times, you are truly a champion on and off the court.”
And then addressing the crowd, said: “I’m speechless right now. This has been a dream come true, really.
“I feel for Serena so much. I’ve been through so much the last year with injury, so I am so sorry she had to go out this way. Sometimes, you can’t push your body and she couldn’t today and I wish her a fast recovery.”
It was Andreescu’s second Premier title of the season having won at Indian Wells last March and was competing in Toronto for the first time since withdrawing from the French Open with a shoulder injury.