June 19, 2024

Open Court


WASHINGTON – After the stress of making her WTA Tour main-draw debut Monday against the hard-hitting Camila Giorgi of Italy, 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu’s first-round doubles match Wednesday was a piece of cake.

Andreescu, who received a wild card into the event in singles but got into the doubles with Louisa Chirico on her own ranking, is into the quarterfinals.

The 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over Americans Kaitlyn Christian and Desirae Krawczyk was fairly convincing. The teams came back to resume play in the middle of the second set after being rained off the court Tuesday night.

But Andreescu and Chirico lost little of their momentum in a first-time pairing.

Out in the boonies

Once again, they were shuffled off to Court 3, which is usually a practice court and has little room at the back and sides to maneuver.

There aren’t even stands for the fans to watch; they have to peer through a chain-link fence. And there are a couple of porta-potties right next to the court.  Glamorous!

Andreescu and Chirico had opportunities to serve out the match at 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set. And they were way up in the tiebreak before the American opponents made it interesting. But they got it done.

The only mildly worrisome moment was when Chirico nailed Andreescu on the back of the head with a serve. But no harm done.

Here’s what it looked like:

Update: Andreescu got some good news Thursday morning, because of the bad news that Maria Sharapova was forced to pull out of the Rogers Cup with a left forearm injury. Andreescu, who hails from the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, will get the wild card vacated by Sharapova’s withdrawal.

Here’s Andreescu after her doubles win, and looking back on the singles win against Giorgi.

Ailing Mladenovic next door

She played her doubles right next to the court where No. 2 seed Kristina Mladenovic and Tatjana Maria went three sets in their first-round match. That one also had been cancelled Tuesday because of the rain.

Mladenovic had some physical issues in that match, including a medical timeout where she was flat on her back on the court. The left knee also appeared to be an issue.


Drama on the singles court

Against Giorgi, there was plenty of drama on the other side. Even during a practice earlier in the week, when Giorgi followed Andreescu and Genie Bouchard onto the court, things seemed tense on Team Giorgi.

Papa Sergio, who is Giorgi’s coach, was spotted with the police on his tail on the grounds over the weekend, after which they gave him a stern talking to. It may, of course, have been as simple as Sergio Giorgi smoking in a verboten area.

During the match, at 4-3 in the third set, a female usher came over and insisted Papa Giorgi vacate the spot where he had been sitting the entire match. The chair umpire was on it, telling Giorgi not to worry about it.

After Giorgi was broken for 5-4 in the third, Papa was giving advice to his daughter, sitting just below. She turned and basically told him to stop talking. Andreescu then went on to serve out the victory.


Defense first, then offense

Andreescu was the calmer of the two on the court. At first, she was taken aback by the sheer power of Giorgi’s groundstrokes, and scrambled around playing a lot of defence.

She had to execute a quick shoe and insole change against the clock, with the help of coach André Labelle. But that was the extend of Andreescu’s drama.

In terms of Giorgi’s pace, she adjusted quickly. This week has been a great boost to Andreescu’s learning curve with the opponents, and even the practice partners, at a higher level than her previous experiences in the juniors and at the ITF level.

Here’s what the singles win looked like.

Andreescu plays Mladenovic, second up around 4 p.m. on Grandstand 2 Thursday. 

After that, she and Chirico will play Australia’s Jessica Moore and Great Britain’s Jocelyn Rae. It’s another winnable match, although a tougher challenge than the first-round match.

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