Loading articles...

Andreescu defeats Wozniacki to advance to fourth round at US Open

Last Updated Aug 31, 2019 at 11:26 pm EDT

Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, returns a shot to Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, during round three of the US Open tennis championships Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Bianca Andreescu is into the second week in her first career U.S. Open.

The 19-year-old Canadian defeated No. 19 seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4 Saturday to advance to the fourth round.

“It means a lot, because this is my best result in a Grand Slam. I’m really, really pumped,” Andreescu said.

On paper, it wasn’t technically an upset, with Andreescu the higher-ranked of the two.

But Wozniacki has reached the U.S. Open singles final twice. And she has been a semifinalist on three other occasions.

There was a full-circle sort of feeling to the victory, even if Andreescu may just be gathering momentum in the final Grand Slam tournament of the season.

Then ranked No. 152, Andreescu made her first big splash back in January when she upset Wozniacki _ then ranked No. 3 _ in the second round of the WTA Tournament in Auckland, New Zealand.

Wozniacki was the first top-10 player Andreescu had ever faced, and only the second ranked inside the top 20.

Eight months later, now in the top 20 herself, the 19-year-old repeated that success.

“I think she played very well in January as well. I didn’t know her back then,” Wozniacki said. “Obviously she’s had a great year. A lot of the players know who she is. She’s made a mark. She’s won two big tournaments this year.

“I think if anything I wish I could have served better today. It wasn’t as easy with the sun, obviously for both of us. Otherwise I think she’s playing very well. ? She has a lot of shots in her game that she can pull out. I tried my best. I fought hard. That’s it.”

This was Andreescu’s first visit to cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium. She got a half-hour warmup on it in the morning, where she ran into another teenager who was to make her Arthur Ashe Stadium debut Saturday: 15-year-old Coco Gauff.

The two greeted each other warmly.

“That was actually the first time we met face-to-face. I told her congrats on all the success and to keep killing it,” Andreescu said. “NextGen is here.”

The first day session match on Ashe Stadium typically features a sea of empty seats at the start, and that was the case Saturday. But by the last few games of the match, the 23,771-seat stadium was about two-thirds full.

There were plenty of Wozniacki supporters _ she’s well-known to the New York fans because of her history of success here.

Andreescu said she had to pinch herself a little as she walked in.

“I was, like, ‘Oh my God, is this actually happening right now?’ It’s a dream come true, so I prepared myself really well. I handled my emotions well today,” she said.

“It was so fun. The atmosphere isn’t like playing in the evening, obviously, but I still felt the energy. ? So hopefully I can play many more matches on the court.”

As Andreescu was waiting to serve at 4-3 in the second set, the giant screens in Arthur Ashe Stadium showed a flashback to the 2009 U.S. Open women’s singles final.

Wozniacki, then 19, played 26-year-old Kim Clijsters, then unranked. Clijsters had retired young, become a mother, and then returned to professional tennis and won the U.S. Open.

Wozniacki later evoked Clijsters as a style comparison for Andreescu.

“I think because she moves well and she can stretch out and get to some balls and also play the aggressive and using the angles,” Wozniacki said. “Obviously she prefers the forehand just like Kim. But she can move around the backhand and put the angle on it.”

Andreescu agreed with Wozniacki’s assessment.

“I actually looked up to (Clijsters) a lot while I was just coming up,” she said. “So that’s really nice to hear from other players, because I think my game is pretty similar to hers. Not as good yet.

“She’s an incredible fighter. She’s very solid all around. She can volley, she can slice, dropshot. And she’s very consistent as well. She chooses her targets and she has a very good serve and return. And she’s very strong mentally.”

Andreescu’s next challenge will be one that another of her role models, Romania’s Simona Halep, was unable to solve.

American Taylor Townsend serve-and-volleyed her way to an upset victory over Halep in the second round. Andreescu will have to formulate a strategy to counter a game style she rarely sees.

“I’m going to work on my passing shots tomorrow and stay as aggressive as I can,” she said.

Meanwhile, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., was ousted in the third round by No. 13 seed Gael Monfils of France.

Monfils toppled Shapovalov 6-7, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in a match that went three hours and 34 minutes, with the Canadian committing 11 double faults and 64 unforced errors.