Bianca Andreescu soars into WTA Top 10 with US Open quarter-final win

Bianca Andreescu of Canada hits a return against Elise Mertens of Belgium. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Bianca Andreescu of Canada hits a return against Elise Mertens of Belgium. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

She will huff and she will puff and she won’t stop until she blows the whole house down.

Bianca Andreescu’s incredible 2019 summer just keeps finding another gear, ousting Elise Mertens — an opponent who had won all of her US Open matches thus far in straight sets — 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

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It looked as though it would be just as straightforward for the Belgian once again, as she looked in complete command from the outset and took full advantage of Andreescu’s second serve to take the first set 6-3. Mertens was hitting the lines, getting net cords to go her way and won 82 percent of her second-serve points, while the Canadian’s game looked as muggy as the conditions.

The atmosphere was atypical of what people come to expect during the second week at Flushing Meadows, fairly muted throughout and plenty of empty seats. But as more people started to file in in anticipation of one of the all-time greats in Rafael Nadal making his appearance for the night, the noise began to pick up and so did the level of Andreescu’s game.

Variety mixed with power has been the staple of Andreescu’s game and it came through in spades to help her dominate the second set, before — as has become custom — she found her best tennis as she neared the finish line. Even with Mertens finding some of the game that left her after the first set, Andreescu had plenty to give her a 12th straight win in matches that have gone the distance.

It is an historic moment for Andreescu and Canada, but she will be eager to go another step further against Belinda Bencic in the semis on Thursday night.

Let’s rewind for just a second, though, to just nine months ago when the 152nd-ranked player in the world was taking on a former World No. 1 and Grand Slam champion in Caroline Wozniacki.

Canada, let alone the tennis world, barely had a clue who Andreescu was. This bubbly off-court, ferocious on-court teenager with wisdom beyond her years was just getting started, and so her straight sets win over Wozniacki came as a complete shock. She followed that up with a win over seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and finished with a loss to Julia Goerges in the final. That’s enough to earn a, ‘Hey, let’s keep an eye out for this one.’

As the number of eyes and ears that have diverted their attention to the Mississauga, Ont., native’s rise has multiplied, so has the level of her game. Every tournament since has served as a platform for Andreescu to set a new marker for excellence, and the US Open has been no exception.

Thought her Indian Wells and Rogers Cup triumphs were as good as it would get for the 19-year-old? Try again. She’s into the US Open semifinals, has guaranteed herself a place in the WTA Top 10 when the rankings update on Sept. 9, and is in prime position to make an appearance at the coveted WTA Finals, a year-end event featuring the top eight players in the world and a record top prize of $4,725,000 at stake.

Bianca wants all the smoke, and right now, nothing anyone throws her way will throw her off course.

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