TORONTO, Canada - Bianca Andreescu's history-making Rogers Cup continued on Saturday, as the Canadian edged American Sofia Kenin to book a place in the final, 6-4, 7-6(5).
Andreescu will be the first Canadian to play for the women's singles title at the modern Rogers Cup, as she held off a late surge from the American in another battle of the two rising stars.
The last Canadian to compete in the final at a previous iteration of the event came at the onset of Open Era tennis, in an all-Canadian final between Faye Urban and Vicki Berner at what was then called the Canadian Open in 1969.
"I've been through so much the past two months, and all I can say is I'm so happy to be back on court...I'm in the final of the Rogers Cup," a tearful Andreescu said on-court after the match.
"I'm glad it was two sets today, but it wasn't easy. I was so so nervous, and I just felt like crying after because I'm just so happy. I'd say this is even bigger than winning Indian Wells."
The World No.27 led 6-4, 5-2 in the match, but needed five match points overall, to seal a place in her third final of the season.
Andreescu took the court in her third battle of the year against the 20-year-old American, coming into the match level at 1-1 in their head-to-head record: Kenin was the last woman to have defeated Andreescu in a completed match since the start of the 19-year-old’s torrid run, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in Acapulco - but it was Andreescu who claimed the victory the last time these two met in Miami.
As a result, both players were familiar with each other’s game, and at the start of their semifinal clash there was not much to separate Andreescu and Kenin. They combined for five break opportunities in the opening nine games, but each time held firm to stay on serve.
Finally it was Kenin who blinked first - after Kenin let two break opportunities slip away from her at 5-4, Andreescu pounced on the opportunity, employing her heavy pace and variety to break serve and take the opening set.
But Andreescu, who has played four consecutive three-set matches in Toronto - racking up a whopping 10 hours and five minutes on court - found herself wobbling in the second set at the American raised her level.
Kenin edged ahead 2-1 after her first break of the Andreescu serve, but the Canadian broke straight back to level the score. The American’s forehand seemed to break down under pressure, and as a result she surrendered too many unforced errors - allowing Andreescu to build up a daunting, 5-2 lead.
But as the Centre Court crowd’s vocal support reached a fever pitch, Andreescu’s nerves looked to be kicking in as Kenin finally claimed the break back and reeled off three games in a row to make it 5-5. The American had to save three match points in a marathon 12th game to force a tiebreak.
Andreescu finally pulled away in the Sudden Death battle, edging ahead a minibreak at 4-2 and keeping her nose in front before claiming her fifth match point, collapsing to the ground in elation.
Up next, Andreescu awaits the winner between 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams and qualifier Marie Bouzkova for a chance to lift the Rogers Cup trophy for the first time.
More to follow...