TORONTO — On Tuesday night in Toronto, the National Tennis Center turned a page to reveal a new chapter has been written.
Earlier this morning, Serena Williams announced her intention to retire after the US Open starting later this month in the very modern fashion of a first-person essay in a fashion magazine. The announcement thundered through the tennis world, adding excitement to Williams' Wednesday night match at the National Bank Open.
In the evening, Bianca Andreescu resumed her activities in Toronto. It was the first time she played in her hometown since winning her heated 2019 her season as a teenager. Her win was against one Serena Williams, who retired with her back ailment while trailing in the first set.A few weeks later, the Canadian won Williams again in the final of the US Open. beat the It was a thrilling win as she fended off a late comeback attempt as New York crowds roared and roared their support for the American legend. , the story hung in the air like moisture. One of the greatest athletes in all of sports, she was nearing the end of her amazing career. She had been denied her 24th Grand Slam title by someone 20 years her junior who had first claimed such a title. Despite all of Selena's amazing willpower, she could no longer expect to blow her young rival off the court, and in 2017 she won her 23rd I won a Grand Slam. Her loss to Andreescu was her fourth loss in a Slam final as she attempted to secure the title, which would tie her 24th record. The mountain seemed to be getting steeper and steeper.
Meanwhile, Andreescu had the upper hand and was destined for the top of the sport within months.
Much has happened since then. Injuries, layoffs and the decision to step away from the sport so she can find her competitive flame again. But with Williams announcing her pending retirement, the juxtaposition with Andreescu is inevitable, just as Andreescu is back to where she scored one of her biggest wins. The Canadian's greatest achievement foil is finally leaving the sport. Will she resume her WTA ranking climb this week?
At least Dahlia, her 11th seed in the tournament, had a very persevering win over Casatkina (7-6). , 6-4). Andreescu fought through matches where her holds were rare and required therapy, but her winning streak in her two-year hiatus with Toronto remains intact.
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Kasatkina, who won her fifth WTA title in San Jose last weekend, gave Andreescu a full blow in the first set at Soby's Stadium. The 25-year-old Russian played under the banner of neutrality here for the attack on Ukraine and served her first before Andreescu scored her five points in a row for a short break. Scored her three points in the first of her game. However, neither player could hold serve in her first five games.
The 22-year-old Canadian looked to be in control as he went 4-2 on serve holds — Andreescu's shouting numbers on Center Court. heard twice — but Kasatkina managed her own service break to level the set at 5-5.
Andreescu spearheaded again and appeared to be battling nausea before seeking medical attention. Courtside staff also took her blood pressure. Andreescu fought back nonetheless, and eventually despite falling behind 2-4 in the first set tiebreak, where she stopped and took an impromptu break. and took the set. At set point, she set up Kasakina with a big, deep forehand and finished with a power volley at the net.
It was a flash of old Bianca, mixing up different shots and throwing opponents off balance in an aggressive game while furiously scoring a good amount of big points. But it was also a flash of old Bianca, who battled health issues and seemed to be struggling to stay on the court. Andreescu was one of her top players in the game, as her body would allow, but such stretches were relatively rare.
By the time Tuesday's first-round match passed her two hours, Kasatkina had won her three straight games and her 0-2 in the second set. Got out of her hall. It seems she was away from her.
Andreescu rebounded here as well. She sets a break point with a nasty slice volley and misses Kasatkina with a forehand bomb. Four games later, the set and match were hers. It was a performance that contained a little bit of everything from excellent shot-making to enthusiastic shouts to moments when the Canadian seemed to be in danger. Adding to the background, Andreescu was finally back in front of a crowd desperate to see her again, and it was high drama. In an on-court interview afterward, he apologized for stopping so often by the Toronto crowd. "I never felt that way," she said, adding that she didn't know it was the nerves and emotions coming back, and that she might have eaten too much.
That said, she tried to stay positive, feed the crowd, and said she tried to "restore that energy of 2019."
Good energy brought by Bianca Andreescu.
With Andreescu on her side of the draw, she has no chance of meeting her Serena of Legends in the finals here. But the day the sports star announced he was retiring, a newer star stepped up again.
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