TORONTO, Canada - After watching her final backhand zip past Sofia Kenin for a winner to end their 2019 Rogers Cup semifinal, Bianca Andreescu covered her face and fell to the court, all the tension of the match suddenly dissipating.
"My body just wanted to let it all out," she explained to the press afterwards. "All the emotions I had in the tiebreaker... and just with all that I've been through. The past couple of months have been so, so, so, so tough. So just being able to be here right now is truly incredible."
The Canadian had, at one point, looked on course for a rare straightforward victory, edging a tight first set and building a comfortable 5-2 lead in the second. But it was at that point that matters got a little more complicated as the never-say-die Kenin clambered back into the match, levelling at 5-5 before saving three match points serving at 5-6 in a knife-edge seven-deuce tussle.
Andreescu would eventually seal her first straight-sets win of this week after taking her fifth match point in the ensuing tiebreak, but admitted afterwards that the experience had not been easy mentally. "At 5-2 it's hard not to think about what is going to happen next," she said. "I mean, I'm one game away from winning. I think that threw me off a little bit. And at 6-5, I was really nervous, I'm not going to lie. So many thoughts were going through my head.
"I try not to tell myself anything because there's already so many thoughts going through my mind. I just try to stay as calm as possible because I know I can have a lot of anger in me. So I try to stay as calm as possible and just focus on the tactics I want to perform."
The 19-year-old, who was sidelined for most of the past four months with a shoulder issue sustained in Miami - only briefly returning to competition at Roland Garros, where she won one match before withdrawing with a recurrence of the injury - also stated that she had "zero expectations" at the start of the week, but credits the vociferous home support for much of her success.
"When the crowd is for you, there's obviously some additional pressure - but I try to channel that pressure into something good," Andreescu explained. "I think it pumps me up even more. Having the crowd behind me this week, I'm really thankful for that because, without their support, I don't think I would have been in the finals this week."
Andreescu is disarmingly honest about everything she's feeling at any given point - and this runs the entire gamut of her emotions. If at one point she's freely discussing her nerves, a few minutes later she's boldly anticipating arguably the biggest match of her young career against one of the legends of the game. "Whoever it is, I'll be ready - watch out!" she laughed, speaking ahead of Serena Williams's defeat of Marie Bouzkova in the second semifinal.
Not that the speculation that Andreescu would be facing Serena fazed the youngster. "It would be an honor to share the court with her," she said. "But when I go out there, like I said, I'm fearless."