NEW YORK, NY, USA -- No.15 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada had a successful main-draw debut at the US Open on Tuesday, ousting American wildcard Katie Volynets, 6-2, 6-4, in an all-teenager tussle.
Andreescu had lost in the first round of US Open qualifying in the past two seasons, when she was ranked outside the Top 100. However, after winning prestigious titles at Indian Wells and Toronto, the 19-year-old finds herself ranked inside the Top 15 and into the second round of the year’s final Grand Slam event after her one-hour and 28-minute win over Volynets.
"Last year I was playing qualifying here, so I felt fresh physically and mentally," Andreescu said in her post-match press conference. "I was feeling good. Katie, my opponent, was playing really well. She was getting to a lot of balls and she's an incredible fighter. That's what I told her after the match. I'm sure it's going to get her places."
The Canadian had beaten Volynets earlier this season en route to winning the WTA 125K Series event in Newport Beach just prior to her maiden WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open. Andreescu continued her winning ways against Volynets on Tuesday, with 28 winners to the American's six, and a superb 81 percent effectiveness rate when she got her first serve into play.
"There were long rallies," said Andreescu. "I was a little bit nervous coming into the match, too. So I think maybe that kind of showed. But I'm usually pretty emotional when I'm on the court. That's just who I am."
"I don't think I was changing the rhythm as much as I usually do, because she gets to so many balls and I wanted to make sure I hit the right ball at the right time so I didn't want to complicate myself," Andreescu added. "But every time I step on the court I play my game, which is to change the rhythm. But I just try to choose the right moments, too."
17-year-old Volynets, currently ranked World No.413, earned her wildcard after winning the USTA under-18 national championships earlier this summer, to make her Grand Slam debut. The American kept both sets competitive as she sought a win in the first Tour-level match of her career, but was broken four times and could convert only one of her five break points.
— Bianca (@Bandreescu_) August 24, 2019
The twosome jockeyed back and forth early advantages as the match began. Andreescu had to fend off a break point in her first service game before claiming the first break of the match, going up 2-1 via an error-forcing forehand on break point. Volynets, though, struck back immediately, leveling at 2-2 after Andreescu sent a volley wide to drop serve.
A protracted game then occurred on the American’s service once more, as Volynets staved off three break points before back-to-back errors from her backhand wing allowed Andreescu to attain and convert a fourth break point. This time around, Andreescu consolidated her break lead to move ahead 4-2.
Andreescu used her variety of shot to pull Volynets into net and force errors from the American, and clinched a double-break to serve for the set at 5-2. The Canadian struggled to close out the set, and she faced three more break points before drawing errors from Volynets. Andreescu eventually converted her second set point with a forehand winner to claim the one-set lead.
Volynets hung even tougher in the second set, holding serve regularly as she kept herself in front at every changeover. The American did not blink at 3-3, closing out her service game with a forehand winner, but Andreescu had a response each and every time, leveling the match at 4-4 as one of her increasingly frequent dropshot attempts fell for a winner on game point.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) August 27, 2019
Andreescu got her chance to take control for good in the next game, when she ended a series of powerful groundstrokes with a ferocious forehand, forcing a netted error from Volynets and setting up break point. There, the young American double faulted, and Andreescu had obtained the crucial break.
Serving for the match at 5-4, Andreescu fired a winner crosscourt to set up her first match point, and a crosscourt backhand winner subsequently sealed the deal, earning her first-ever US Open main-draw win on her first attempt.
Andreescu will play lucky loser Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, a former Top 20 player and 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist, in the second round. Flipkens beat another lucky loser, China’s Wang Xiyu, in three sets in their first-round clash. It will be the first meeting between Andreescu and Flipkens.
"I think that's going to be a fun match," Andreescu said. "[Flipkens] likes to change the rhythm like I do. I don't think it's going to be easy. She's very strong mentally, too. I'm looking forward to that. Going to study her before the match, obviously."