The projected match of the day lived up to the hype in Toronto as Canadians Bianca Andreescu and Eugenie Bouchard put on a show Tuesday night.
Andreescu had been hampered by a shoulder injury since her stunning title run at Indian Wells and this was just her third event since the big win and early on it looked like the rust was going to prevail as Bouchard took the opener.
But Andreescu found her rhythm to take the second then hung on in the third for a huge 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
“It was honestly such a good match,” Andreescu told the crowd. “I’m really glad we were able to put on a show. Sadly, it was an all-Canadian first round, but at least one Canadian got through.
“It’s been a rollercoaster, but I’ve been preparing really well for the last couple weeks, and that preparation really showed tonight. I’m feeling really good, no pain, so I’m really happy.”
Andreescu is now 12-3 in deciding set matches while Bouchard, a former Wimbledon finalist, has lost her last nine matches since February!
Up next for the teen is Daria Kasatkina who shocked Angelique Kerber Monday night from a set down.
Earlier, Venus Williams continued her slide losing to Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-2. The former No. 1 has now lost her last four matches, winning just one set. That’s her worst losing streak in six years since the summer of 2013.
Also eliminated was world No. 1 Ash Barty who was ousted by American Sofia Kenin 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4. Barty had won both meetings with Kenin this year, but the steady American was too good.
“I think it was overall a really good match. I’ve played Ash a few times so I know her game style well, but I think I prepared myself better this time,” Kenin told WTA Insider after her first Top 5 win.
“I went into the court and tried to already get adjusted to the game, because she plays very differently to other players. That’s why she’s No.1. The first set didn’t go my way, but I was playing against the World No.1, so of course she was going to come up with amazing serves, start playing better and pick up her game.
“I just had to rewind, forget about it and just battle out there.”
Barty’s last two losses have come to Americans after falling to Alison Riske at Wimbledon. Barty could lose her No. 1 ranking to either Naomi Osaka or Karolina Pliskova.
“I think today I wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough or well enough to play a match of the standard that I expect myself to play and I want myself to play,” said Barty. “Sofia served today in the big moments. She served particularly well and got a lot of free points.
“I think these are courts where you need to be aggressive. You need to be confident and trust yourself and really hit through the ball, and today I didn’t have quite enough of that. And against a player like Sofia, who hits the ball so cleanly and so aggressive and takes it so early, that’s something you need.
“It wasn’t there today, but she played an exceptional match when she needed to, and in the big moments she played some really good stuff.”
Regarding Riske, in her first pro match as a married woman, she won a final set breaker saving three match points to defeat Maria Sakkari. But her countrywoman Madison Keys lost in a deciding breaker to Donna Vekic. Keys, who needed shoulder treatment during the defeat, has lost four of her last five and since her semifinal US Open run, has only reached that stage once since — winning the Charleston title.
Americans together went 2-5 on the day with Danielle Collins and Francesca Di Lorenzo also losing along with Sloane Stephens who fell late to Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 7-5. Stephens has now lost her last three matches and five of her last seven.
Former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka enjoyed a good win over Washington finalist Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-2.
On Wednesday, Simona Halep opens her title defense against American Jennifer Brady. Three-time winner Serena Williams make her first Canadian appearance in four years to play former Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens and Pliskova faces Riske.
Also, 2010 champion Caroline Wozniacki collides with the Polish youngster Iga Swiatek.
Naomi Osaka is in action against Tatjana Maria. If Osaka wins, Barty will lose her No. 1 ranking to either Osaka or Pliskova.
WEDNESDAY TORONTO SCHEDULE
Centre Court Starts At 11:00 am
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) v Alison Riske (USA)
Jennifer Brady (USA) v Simona Halep (ROU)
Daria Kasatkina (RUS) v Bianca Andreescu (CAN)
Not Before 7:00 pm
Serena Williams (USA) v Elise Mertens (BEL)
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v Iga Swiatek (POL)
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