BEIJING, China - Reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu powered into her sixth WTA-level quarterfinal of the year after taking down American qualifier Jennifer Brady in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3 at the China Open.
It’s just the latest highlight in a career season for the young Canadian, who burst onto the scene earlier in the year reaching a final in Auckland and later stunning the tennis world with a run to the BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells.
Andreescu didn’t stop there, although a shoulder injury threatened to halt her progress. She picked up right where she left off in Toronto, becoming the first Canadian in the Open Era to lift the Rogers Cup trophy - and then she capped it off with a dream fortnight at the US Open.
Having already qualified for her first Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen appearance, Andreescu continued her winning ways in Beijing against American qualifier Brady.
An always-tricky opponent, Brady has claimed several big-name upsets in 2019, and she did it again in Beijing against fellow American Madison Keys, the No.11 seed, in the previous round.
"I think it was a solid match overall from my part. My goal was to take control right from the start and make sure I'm consistent with my serve. Last couple matches, I wasn't," the Canadian said after the match.
"I'm really happy with how my serve held up today, and also my return, especially in the first set. It's nice having a match like this, especially after what happened yesterday. I think I was more positive, as well. I think that helped a lot."
The World No.5 got off to a dominant start, and then never looked back in her third-round clash on Diamond Court. Andreescu opened with an early break to take a 1-0 lead, and pushed her way to three more break opportunities in Brady’s next service game. The American fought her off, but couldn’t hold her back for long as Andreescu reeled off the next four games in a row to take the opening set.
In the second set it was Andreescu who was under constant pressure as Brady raised her level. She dialed up the aggression on the return, and was rewarded with her first break chances against the Canadian’s serve: she held four break points total, one at the 0-0 game, another at 1-1 and two more at 2-2.
But Brady wasn’t able to convert on any of her four opportunities as Andreescu’s strong serving bailed her out of trouble. Instead, it was Andreescu who struck first, claiming a late break at 5-3 to seal the match after an hour and eight minutes.
It's hard not to focus on the end of the match or winning because you're one game away. Obviously those thoughts are going to go through your mind, which they always do for me.
"I just try my best to stay in the present moment and keep doing what I'm doing, especially when it's going so well. Sometimes I'll start changing it up because I'm feeling confident, but I've learned that doesn't always work," the US Open champion continued.
"When I am playing well, I just try to keep it as simple as possible because I have so many shots that I can hit. Sometimes, that can go against me. I try to just keep doing what I'm doing and try to serve it out. If it's on her serve, she could maybe have a really good service game, and it could be 5-All. At that point, the match could go either way."
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But Andreescu had all of the answers against Brady, striking 16 winners and five aces, winning 79% of points behind her strong first serve. As a result, she wasn’t broken at all during the match, saving all four break points she faced. She kept Brady’s game contained to just nine winners, but the American was undone by 21 unforced errors.
The victory extends Andreescu’s winning streak to 17 matches in a row, dating back to the French Open and includes her Toronto win and maiden Grand Slam crown at Flushing Meadows.
Up next, Andreescu will take on former World No.1 Naomi Osaka in a mouthwatering Beijing quarterfinal clash. The Canadian owns a stunning 8-0 winning record against Top 10 players in 2019, with all of those matches taking place on hard courts.
"I'm feeling more excited than usual. I wanted to play her ever since she did so well at the US Open and Australian Open. I'm really happy that I get to play her tomorrow because I think it's going to be a lot of fun," Andreescu said.
"I know she's an aggressive player. She has similar traits to Serena, as well. Big serve, big groundstrokes. She moves pretty well, too. If I just go out there and play my game, I think that's worked a lot this year against many of the players. The goal is just to play my game and stay positive."