Bianca Andreescu targets her 15th consecutive victory when she takes on Elise Mertens in a U.S. Open rematch for a…
Bianca Andreescu targets her 15th consecutive victory when she takes on Elise Mertens in a U.S. Open rematch for a place in the China Open quarter-finals in Beijing on Wednesday.
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Canadian sensation Bianca Andreescu aims to repeat her U.S. Open victory over Elise Mertens as the pair clash in the China Open Round of 16 in Beijing on Wednesday.
Andreescu hasn’t been defeated in a completed match since Acapulco on March 1 and she continued her sparkling run on Tuesday in Beijing, overcoming Aliaksandra Sasnovich in three sets in what was her first match since winning her maiden Grand Slam at the U.S. Open last month. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 19-year-old, with Andreescu recovering from an early break in the first set and bouncing back from a second-set stumble to register a 6-2 2-6 6-1 victory, which also cemented her spot in the elite eight-player field for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen at the end of the season.
But there is a lot of tennis to be played between now and then, and Andreescu will be determined to extend her winning run for as long as possible. The Canadian started 2019 outside the top 100, but she signalled her intentions for a swift rise when she made the Auckland final at the start of the season. Andreescu would go on to secure her maiden WTA title at the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells a couple of months later, but injury would strike her down and limit her to just one completed match during the clay and grass swings.
However, those injuries didn’t hold Andreescu back for long, with the teenager returning in Canada to win the Rogers Cup, before following that up with her famous U.S. Open triumph, beating Serena Williams in the final and propelling her to global superstardom. With a 45-4 record in 2019 and an extraordinary 8-0 record against top 10 players, it’s looking like it’s going to take a very special display to beat Andreescu at the moment.
Does Elise Mertens have such a performance in her? The Belgian played well against Andreescu at the U.S. Open as she won the opening set, but she couldn’t prevent the Canadian from finding her range from the baseline, and once Andreescu started connecting with her booming groundstrokes, there was only going to be one winner. Nevertheless, that match should help Mertens with what’s to come in Beijing – perhaps she can use it to her advantage?
Mertens, an Australian Open semi-finalist last year, hit her career-high ranking of No. 12 later in 2018 as she won International-level titles in Lugano and Rabat, made the fourth round at Roland Garros, the third round of Wimbledon, the semi-finals of San Jose, the quarter-finals of Montreal and Cincinnati and the fourth round of the U.S. Open, while she won the biggest title of her career at the start of 2019, beating Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep to capture the Premier-level Qatar Open silverware in Doha. Mertens didn’t have a great clay and grass swing, although she did make the fourth round at Wimbledon, but she did play some great tennis to make the U.S. Open quarter-finals and the semi-finals of Osaka a couple of weeks ago, while she scored a solid 6-2 6-3 win over the in-form Petra Martic to set up this clash with Andreescu.
Mertens’ steady game caused Andreescu some problems in New York, but the problem for the Belgian is that there’s not really much she can do to unsettle the Canadian if Andreescu is hitting the ball cleanly. There might be a lot of ebbs and flows, but generally, Andreescu has found the tennis she needs when it matters most, and until someone proves otherwise, she’s the favourite for basically every match she plays right now.