Mississauga teen Bianca Andreescu going to Rogers Cup final
Bianca Andreescu dropped to her knees and covered her face in visible relief before kissing the Aviva Centre's hardcourt after advancing to the Rogers Cup final.
Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, Ont., held on for a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory over Sofia Kenin of the United States on Saturday afternoon.
The 19-year-old won on her fifth match point to become the first Canadian to make the Rogers Cup final in 50 years.
It's her first tournament back from a right-shoulder injury that has sidelined her since the French Open in May.
Saturday's win was Andreescu's first at the Rogers Open that did not go three sets.
Andreescu needed to have her legs wrapped and taped during the second set of a gritty quarterfinal win over Karolina Pliskova on Friday.
She was taped up again for the semifinal against Kenin, the last woman to beat Andreescu back at the Acapulco Open back in February.
Andreescu has now won 16 consecutive matches where she has not retired due to injury, including victories over six of the top 10 players in the WTA.
Andreescu brought her drop shot back against Kenin after rarely employing it against Pliskova.
Her most deft use of the light touch came in the eighth game of the first set.
Andreescu telegraphed going for an overhand smash on a high bouncing ball but then just tapped it to drop her shot neatly in bounds. Kenin banged her racket off the net in frustration as the Aviva Centre crowd roared its approval.
Another drop shot sealed the first set for Andreescu. Kenin was able to return the Canadian's first drop shot on set point but Andreescu was in perfect position to send another one right back, to the delight of the fans.
Kenin held her first lead of the match in the second set when a series of unforced errors by Andreescu gave the American a 2-1 advantage.
Andreescu responded, however, by winning four consecutive games. She took a 4-2 lead on the set when a sure-fire winner by Kenin clipped the net and landed out of bounds. Andreescu then rolled to a 5-2 lead before Kenin finally took a game point back.
Despite the vocal support of the sold-out crowd, Andreescu struggled to close out Kenin, putting several shots into the net to virtually hand two game points to the American and tie the set 5-5.
Andresscu finally saved on love to take a 6-5 lead when Kenin's return on her serve went wide.
After that point Kenin asked for a medical timeout and left the court to be attended to by a trainer. Andreescu sat calmly with a towel draped over her face with only her hair bun poking out during the three-minute break.
That set up a lengthy game that went to seven deuces and stretched to nearly 13 minutes of play, with neither player able to finish the other off.
Kenin finally got lucky in the seventh deuce when her forehand clipped the net and fell just in bounds for advantage. Andreescu's return on the next point went into the net to set up the tiebreak.
Andreescu doubled over in frustration when her perfectly lined-up forehand smash went long, returning the serve to Kenin and making the tiebreak 5-4. Although Andreescu argued with the umpire on the next point when a shot was out, she still returned the shot and got a point to make it 6-4 on the tiebreak.
Kenin got a point back, but Andreescu's backhand winner sealed the match and brought the Canadian to her knees.
Andreescu then kissed the hard court and started crying as she lay on her back, visibly relieved to have the match over and advance to her hometown tournament's final.
Later Saturday, American Serena Williams faced Marie Bouzkova in the other women's semifinal.