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Serena vs Andreescu WTA Rogers Cup Toronto Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Serena battles young gun, Andreescu for Totonto title

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 11 Aug 2019
  • Serena Williams vs Bianca Andreescu is live from Toronto on Sunday, 11 August from 1:30om local time/ 6:30pm BST
  • First meeting between Serena and Andreescu
Serena Williams (PA Sport)

Legendary American, Serena Williams attempts to win her first title since the 2017 Australian Open when she takes on Canadian rising star, Bianca Andreescu in the Rogers Cup final on Sunday.

*Geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to customers with an active balance 

Serena is contesting her second final of the season, following her runner-up finish to Simona Halep at Wimbledon, while this is her first final outside the four Grand Slams since May 2016, when she defeated Madison Keys in Rome.

Should Serena beat Andreescu in Sunday's final, it will also be her first title as a mother, after having several major heartbreaks since her return from maternity leave in February last year. Williams has been to Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon in each of the last two seasons, losing to Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep respectively, while she also fell to Naomi Osaka at the US Open last year, as her wait for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title continues. The great American will have another shot at equaling Margaret Court's record when she competes at Flushing Meadows in a few weeks' time, and based on the form she has shown in Toronto this week, she will again be there or thereabouts in New York.

It's been a difficult season for Serena on the injury front, as she has been restricted to just six tournaments- before Toronto- and has either retired or withdrawn from half of them. The 37-year-old began the year with quarter final finish at the Australian Open, blowing a big 5-1 lead in the final set against Karolina Pliskova, when she was apparently bothered by an ankle injury in the latter stages of the match, but she couldn't finish her next three tournaments- retiring from Indian Wells with illness, and withdrawing from Miami and Rome with a persistent knee problem. Serena crashed to Sofia Kenin in the third round of the French Open, but she regained some form and fitness at Wimbledon, powering to the final before losing to Halep.

Williams declared at the start of the Rogers Cup that she was pain-free, and she has generally looked in good shape this week, scoring straight sets victories over world No. 20, Elise Mertens, dangerous Russian, Ekaterina Alexandrova and soon-to-be world No. 1, Naomi Osaka, avenging her US Open defeat to the Japanese, to march into the semi-finals. 

She dropped her first set of the tournament against Marie Bouzkova in the last four, but she rallied from an erratic opening set to score a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory, and advance to her fifth Rogers Cup final.

"I just needed to be more consistent and not make so many errors and just mentally be ready to hit a thousand balls if I needed to," Williams said after her victory over Bouzkova. 
"In the first set, I was going for a little too much, so I just had to just play a different game. That was really important for me was to just change it up and move it around and not be so predictable.

Williams won the Rogers Cup in 2001, 2011 and 2013, but she hadn't featured since 2015. Will she mark her return to Canada by claiming her fourth title at the event? She will be challenged by the excellent young Canadian, Bianca Andreescu on Sunday.

Andreescu has been on another dream run this week, one not too dissimilar to her stunning march the Indian Wells title earlier in the year- will it be the same title-winning outcome as she takes on the mighty Serena on Sunday?

It has been a show of skill and grit in equal measure from Andreescu, who had to battle through consecutive three setters against Eugenie Bouchard, Daria Kasatkina and top-ten stars, Kiki Bertens and Karolina Pliskova just to get to the semi-finals of her home tournament. 

Up against fellow young gun, Sofia Kenin in the last four on Saturday, the Canadian edged a tight first set and built up a big lead in the second set, but from 6-4 5-2, nerves appeared to kick in and Kenin took full toll, fighting back to force a second set tie break, and raising the possibility of yet another Andreescu three-setter. However, it was Andreescu who made the better start to the breaker, building a 4-2 lead before going on to seal a fine 6-4 7-6 victory on her fifth match point.

"I've been through so much the past two months, and all I can say is I'm so happy to be back on court...I'm in the final of the Rogers Cup," an emotional Andreescu said after the match. 
"I'm glad it was two sets today, but it wasn't easy. I was so so nervous, and I just felt like crying after because I'm just so happy. I'd say this is even bigger than winning Indian Wells."

The 19-year-old began the year outside the top 100, but regardless of whatever happens in Sunday's Rogers Cup final, she will definitely break into the top-20 when the rankings are updated on Monday. She is into her third final of the year, having opened with a runner-up finish in Auckland, where she defeated former No. 1s, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki before falling short in the title match against Julia Goerges. She later won the WTA 125K tournament at Newport Beach, and reached the semi-finals in Acapulco, before producing that amazing title-winning spell at Indian Wells, where she defeated Elina Svitolina, Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber in the latter rounds to became the first wildcard to win the tournament. 

The Canadian got to the fourth round in Miami, but her progress was cut short by a shoulder injury which forced her to quit her Round of 16 meeting with Anett Kontaveit. She didn't play again until Roland Garros, where she lasted just one match before going away again, but she has returned with a big bang in Toronto, and is a win over Serena Williams away from securing her second tour-level title.

"She hasn't played a lot, but she's won a lot. So she's done really well. Yeah, I haven't either. But now we both are starting to get healthy and play a little bit more," Serena said ahead of her first meeting with Andreescu. 
"The crowd will obviously be for her. I definitely would too, but it's really not about that. It's just about going out there and playing your great tennis. Luckily, I've had some tough crowds in my career, so hopefully I will be used to it."

Andreescu is a perfect 6-0 against top-ten players, and if she is not carrying any niggles, and doesn't get affected by the nerves of playing Serena, she has got a game style that should cause the American plenty of problems. The young gun has got the power game, but she can also mix things up with plenty of variety. She could also prey on Serena's recent record in finals, with the American also likely to be nervous as she attempts to end her lengthening title-drought.

That said, I'm still edging towards Serena, based on her reputation and the fact that she has played well for large parts of the week. If she serves as well as she can, stays calm amd executes, she remains one of the very best out there, and will be difficult to beat.

Serena Williams vs Bianca Andreescu is live from Toronto on Sunday, 11 August from 1:30om local time/ 6:30pm BST

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Serena vs Andreescu WTA Rogers Cup Toronto Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Serena battles young gun, Andreescu for Totonto title

Three-time champion, Serena Williams takes on Canadian rising star, Bianca Andreescu in the final of the Rogers Cup on Sunday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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