Big match tonight for Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu’s coach sees similarities between the 19-yearold Canadian and former Belgian star Kim Clijsters, and he’s not the only one.
And since Clijsters won 41 titles, including four Grand Slams, made four other major finals and was ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles, that’s a comparison Andreescu can be proud of.
“It makes me smile, and it made Bianca smile, too, when I mentioned to her maybe three years ago – long before I started working with her – that there were enormous similarities between her game and Clijsters’ game,” her coach Sylvain Bruneau said Tuesday.
Andreescu will face Clijsters’ countrywoman Elise Mertens in the U.S. Open women’s singles quarterfinals today at 4 p.m. PT. Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski also will be in action, in the women’s doubles quarterfinals.
Lindsay Davenport played Clijsters 17 times during her career. The former No. 1, now an analyst for Tennis Channel in the U.S., also sees the parallels.
“I think Bianca uses a bit more variety than Clijsters, but I see it a lot in how she moves to her forehand,” Davenport said. “Kim was an expert at being able to move on a diagonal. It could have been a few feet; it could have been inches – however much she needed to take the ball early. If she saw she had time, she would move into the court.”
If there were rumblings about Andreescu’s prospects coming into the U.S. Open after she came back from a long injury layoff and won her hometown Rogers Cup last month, the volume is turning up.
“Considering she had won two major tournaments on hard courts this year, you’d expect there would be some buzz about what she might do here,” Bruneau said. “Now, she’s won four matches, and playing good tennis. But this is new territory for her. She has very little experience in Grand Slams, never mind in the second week of Grand Slams.”
As the women’s field was being whittled down to eight, some notable casualties littered the side of the U.S. Open highway. Defending champion Naomi Osaka, Wimbledon champion and world No. 4 Simona Halep and 2017 champion Sloane Stephens are among those in Andreescu’s half of the draw who didn’t make the final eight.
Left in her half are Mertens along with No. 13 seed Belinda Bencic and No. 23 Donna Vekic, who also will meet Wednesday.
Can Andreescu win the U.S. Open, something nearly unthinkable in January when she was outside the top 150?
“Yes, although you never know how a player will react when they get out there. But she’s never shown any signs of blinking and wondering, ‘What am I doing here?”’ Davenport said. “It’s a tough ask if she has to play Serena (Williams) here, who would be going for her seventh (U.S. Open). But it doesn’t seem like Andreescu ever comes into any match with a lot of fear,” she added.
Davenport also hailed the Canadian’s competitiveness.
“I’m super impressed with her. I don’t think there are many teenagers who have that kind of variety. And a lot of times, when players do have that much variety, they don’t know how to put it together at such a young age. And she’s a street fighter. Many of the teenagers, they kind of crumble at times. That doesn’t happen with her.
Bianca Andreescu of Canada plays against Taylor Townsend of the United States during their fourth round match Monday.