Canadian teen sensation Andreescu soars 45 spots in rankings after inspiring run in New Zealand

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu jumped 45 positions to a career-high No. 107 in the world rankings Monday after her surprising run to the final at the ASB Classic.

The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., stunned former world No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and American Venus Williams en route to her first appearance in a WTA Tour final on Sunday in Auckland, New Zealand.
Andreescu, who won three qualifying matches to enter the main draw, dropped a three-set decision to 14th-ranked Julia Goerges of Germany in the championship match.

After falling to Goerges on Sunday in her eighth match in nine days, Andreescu left Auckland for Melbourne on Monday to prepare for the Australian Open’s qualifying draw, starting Tuesday.

“Right now it’s not easy to have to turn around and play qualies,” said Louis Borfiga, Tennis Canada’s vice-president of high performance and athlete development. “But that’s part of the experience to become a champion.”
Andreescu will likely open against world No. 181 Katie Swan of Britain at Melbourne Park. She would need three victories to advance to the main draw. Seeded fourth in qualifying,Andreescu’s recent ranking was not high enough for direct entry. There are 16 qualifier spots up for grabs in the 128-player main draw.

Andreescu should be brimming with confidence after also winning three qualifying matches for the ASB Classic and dispatching Taiwan’s Su-wei Hsieh and Timea Babos of Hungary in the main draw.

“I think it was an incredible performance by Bianca,” Borfiga said from Montreal. “I was surprised because she won [some] matches quite easily. She beat Babos in two sets, she beat Wozniacki in two sets. Against Williams, after losing the first set, she went 6-1, 5-0, and she won the semifinal in two sets.

“That means that she has been good and her level has been very high. It’s a good sign for the rest of the year.”

It was Andreescu’s first career WTA final and fourth appearance in a main draw on the Tour. She earned US$21,400 for finishing second.

Andreescu boasts a well-rounded game that is well suited to any surface. She has the power to blast away from the baseline and will often change the tempo with slice shots and drops.

Borfiga hopes she’ll continue to make strides with her service game and her fitness as she works with national women’s coach Sylvain Bruneau.

“I think one of the necessities for Bianca is to not only think about the ranking, but to think about improving her game day after day,” he said. “To be ready to win a tournament on the WTA and maybe later, a big tournament.

“But [if she can] improve on the physical side and on the technical side day after day, after that the results will come for sure.”

Two other Canadians will play in the women’s qualifying draw. Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino lost to American Caroline Dolehide 6-2, 6-2, and Toronto’s Katherine Sebov faces Jessika Ponchet of France.

In men’s play, No. 2 qualifying seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal defeated Belgium’s Arthur De Greef 6-2, 7-6. Tenth-seeded Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., beat American Ernesto Escobedo 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, and Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., meets Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak.

Eugenie Bouchard is the top Canadian on the new WTA Tour rankings list at No. 79. The 24-year-old from Westmount, Que., rose eight positions after reaching the quarter-finals at the ASB Classic.

Romania’s Simona Halep remained No. 1 in an unchanged top three that includes Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Wozniacki.

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., is the top Canadian at No. 17 on the ATP list. Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., is No. 27 and Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil is No. 71. Pospisil won’t play in the Australian Open because of a back injury.
Shapovalov, meanwhile, lost his first match of 2019 on Monday, falling 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Joao Sousa of Portugal.
The top three includes Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Switzerland’s Roger Federer.

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