TORONTO, Canada -- Bianca Andreescu has mastered the three-set fight on home soil this week, as the 19-year-old earned her fourth win going the distance with a 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 victory over No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, to reach the Rogers Cup semifinals.
"I've been practicing a lot on trying to figure out what to do in these kind of circumstances," Andreescu said, during her post-match press conference. "I've had many opportunities to try different things, and I finally found something that clicked for me. And when I step out on the court, I'm fearless. I show no mercy no matter who I play, and I think that's showing a lot."
The Canadian claimed victory after one hour and 49 minutes of play to improve to 4-0 against Top 5 players this season, including her second Top 5 win this week after her third-round victory over World No.5 Kiki Bertens.
World No.27 Andreescu, who raced to her first WTA singles title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells earlier this year, claimed two-thirds of points off of Pliskova's second serve en route to another tough victory in Toronto.
"This really means a lot to me," Andreescu admitted. "I've been putting in a lot of work, and I've dedicated myself to this sport 100%, and it's definitely paying off."
Andreescu will now take on Sofia Kenin of the United States in the semifinals. 20-year-old Kenin earned her second Top 10 win of the week by upsetting No.6 seed Elina Svitolina in straight sets in an earlier quarterfinal. Andreescu and Kenin have split their two meetings in 2019.
"It's great to see the young generation doing well on the WTA," said Andreescu. "I played her twice this year already, so I know what to expect from her. She is a fighter. She gets to a lot of balls. So I'm going to go out there and just give my best performance."
Andreescu’s all-court craft was too much for the Pliskova power in the opening set. The Czech struggled with consistency on her serve in the breeze, and Andreescu took advantage, batting back wily groundstrokes and forcing Pliskova into errors en route to a 3-0, double-break lead.
Pliskova nearly got on the board at 4-0, coming back from 0-40 down to reach game point, but then clocked three double faults in a row to drop serve again and cede a 5-0 lead to Andreescu. The Canadian coolly served out the set in the next game; Andreescu had seven winners in the set, while Pliskova just had one. The Czech also blasted 13 unforced errors in the opening frame.
In the second set, though, the tables turned dramatically, as it was Andreescu who gave up an early 2-0 lead to Pliskova by double faulting her opening service game away. Pliskova began to find her range, and blasted back-to-back backhand winners to break for a second time and reach 4-0.
Pliskova held two set points at 5-1 before Andreescu made a late charge, closing out that game with a return winner and grasping one of the breaks back. However, following an off-court medical time-out for the teenager, Andreescu dropped serve once more, double faulting on set point to allow Pliskova to level the match at one set apiece.
"I got really low on this one ball she hit, and I felt my groin a little bit," Andreescu explained. "I felt it this morning too. It was a bit sore, but I think it got a little bit worse during the match. And we just went inside to tape it. She didn't want to do it on the court, so we just went inside. But I took the longest ice bath ever just now. I'll still shivering. So hopefully that helps."
"The momentum definitely switched from the first set to the second set, but that's what the best players do," said Andreescu. "They try to look at that they're doing wrong and what they're doing well. And she definitely picked up her game in the second set.
"But then in the third set, I told myself, 'Go big or go home.' Literally, go home. My home is, like, two minutes from here," Andreescu laughed.
Andreescu, with a heavily taped thigh, had to struggle through her opening service game of the deciding set, fending off three break points with clutch backhand depth before eking out a hold for 1-1. At this juncture, Pliskova was clicking on serve, and the Czech, known for her vaunted aces, closed out quick holds for 3-2 and 4-3 with that weapon.
But Andreescu was also powering through service games by this point, and held on for 4-4 with a strong serve of her own. It was here that Pliskova suddenly lost the plot, hitting miscues and a double fault to fall behind 0-40. The Czech pulled out a good serve to save one break point, but she fired a forehand long on the second to drop serve out of nowhere.
In front of a roaring crowd of compatriots, Andreescu refused to let this opportunity slip away, and blasted an ace to reach triple match point at 5-4. The Canadian teen only needed one, as Pliskova slammed a backhand service return into the net, sending Andreescu into the final four of the biggest event in her nation.