Andreescu has, by all appearances, forgotten how to lose, with her last defeat in a completed match coming all the way back in Acapulco in February to Sofia Kenin. She subsequently retired against Anett Kontaveit in Miami in March after winning Indian Wells and did not play again until the French Open, where she gave Kenin a walkover in the second round, not taking to the court again since the Rogers Cup in August, so it’s not quite as insane as it sounds.
But it’s still pretty insane, let’s be clear, with Andreescu winning 15 straight matches since returning to action in Toronto: First capturing the Rogers Cup title, then going on to win the US Open, and now into the third round of the China Open.
To have picked up her winning streak where it left off in New York, after everything that’s happened and with everything that is now expected, is really remarkable, even for the Canadian teenager who makes the remarkable look routine. It’s not entirely come easy – Andreescu dropped the second set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on her way to a topsy-turvy 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 win in the first round, and in the second, she had to scrap very hard to keep it to straight sets against Elise Mertens.
Mertens was one of Andreescu’s victims on her way to the US Open title and the Belgian did come very close to, if not getting revenge for that defeat, at least dragging the Canadian to a third set: After losing the first set 3-6, Mertens led 4-1 in the second and had break point for 5-1. But Andreescu not only saved set point to take the second set to a tie-break, she came back from a mini-break down in that tie-break in a fashion that suggested she really has forgotten has to lose.
Andreescu’s stellar season got even better this week when it was announced that she will be making her debut at the season-ending championships, the fourth player to qualify for Shenzhen alongside Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep. She is looking to reach the quarterfinals of a Premier Mandatory event for the second time this season after having done so at Indian Wells when she takes on Jennifer Brady on Thursday.
Brady is a surprise package in the last 16 in Beijing, having qualified for the main draw via wins over Xu Shilin and Kateryna Kozlova, but her wins once she reached the main draw have been impressive, first ousting Amanda Anisimova 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-3 before beating 11th seed Madison Keys 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
World no. 66 Brady was ranked as high as world no. 60 in October 2017 after having made the fourth rounds of the Australian and US Opens that season as well as the semifinals of Hong Kong, but dropped out of the top 100 a year later after an unimpressive season which saw her make three ITF semifinals but fail to make much of an impression at all in WTA Tour-level main draws, including failing to defend her Melbourne and New York points, losing in the first round of both.
Brady dropped as low as world no. 125 in January, when she lost in the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open, but has been rebuilding ever since, and comes into Beijing not so far off that career-high ranking from almost two years ago. That’s thanks to some very solid results. Brady finished runner-up at the WTA 125k Indian Wells tournament in March, with Alison Riske among the players she beat on her way to the final, and made the semifinals of the WTA Tour International-level Nature Valley Open in Nottingham in June. She also reached the third round of Indian Wells proper and the quarterfinals of New Haven, and won a main-draw match in both Toronto and Cincinnati after coming through qualifying.
So Brady’s good week has been built on solid foundations, but in order to keep her run going in Beijing, she will have to do something she’s never done before in six attempts: Beat a top-10 player.
Andreescu leads the head-to-head with Brady 3-1, but the American did win their most recent encounter in Midland last January, and has a big, powerful game and a lot of confidence at the moment. Still, although Andreescu has been up and down in Beijing, she has been having no trouble in re-finding her aggressive game when she needs to and she has a great opportunity to make the quarterfinals of the China Open for the first time, extending her winning streak even further.
Andreescu vs Brady China Open tennis is live from Beijing on Thursday at 7.30pm local/11.30am BST
Andreescu vs Brady tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Andreescu’s winning streak set to continue vs qualifier Brady in Beijing
Bianca Andreescu aims to continue her incredible winning streak as she takes on qualifier Jennifer Brady for a place in…
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