July 13, 2024

Open Court


If Andreescu is playing like it’s 2019, makes sense Kenin is next

MIAMI, Fla. – In her wins over Emma Raducanu and No. 7 seed Maria Sakkari at this Miami Open, Canadian Bianca Andreescu has played almost like it’s 2019 all over again.

Four years ago, she took Indian Wells. And then, despite probably needing a break to heal up a shoulder/arm issue, she still made her way to Miami to play. Why wouldn’t you, when you’re on the roll of your life?

Here, she still got to the fourth round before the body said no más.

The tennis is coming, and the 22-year-old was able to deal with tough conditions in her first round – and really tough conditions in her second round.

So in keeping with the “play like it’s 2019” theme, it only makes sense that her third-round opponent on Sunday will be Sofia Kenin.

Kenin, the former world No. 4 (as was Andreescu) and 2020 Australian Open champion, was someone Andreescu ran into every second week in that momentous season.

(Okay, not every second week. But … regularly. You could argue that she was probably the most impactful player in that run through the spring and summer of 2019).

Here’s what her win over Sakkari looked like from courtside on Friday.

Afterwards, Andreescu was in stitches when her father’s … exuberance in the players’ box was described to her. Open Court hasn’t often seen him like that. And, of course, it was a very hot day so he’d be yelling out support with a towel over his head, completely drenched.

We also asked her about the “yellow stuff” her trainer stood up and yelled at her not to drink.

You can see the post-match interview here with my colleagues at TVA Sports (yes, it’s in English).

Andreescu cracked up when told of how her father was absolutely osing it in her player’s box.

Next is Kenin, whose childhood home is a couple of football fields away from Hard Rock Stadium.

She has brought experienced coach Michael Joyce on this “Sunshine Double” journey, although Papa is never far away.

And she’s starting to play like it’s … 2020 again. Although she still has a ways to go and her ranking still stands at a low No. 164 (live ranking is No. 142).

Both have been through the wringer the last few years. So it’s an important match for both – and a nervy match for both with the humidity expected to be even higher than it was on Friday.

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Andreescu and Kenin and the fates of tennis

They first met all the way back in 2017, when Andreescu hadn’t even officially turned pro yet, at an ITF near San Diego.

That was won by Andreescu. And then, there were four meetings in 2019 – and none since.

The first came in the semifinal in Acapulco, which Kenin won 7-5 in the third set. Shortly afterwards, Andreescu went on her Indian Wells run.

It didn’t take long for them to meet again. Andreescu beat Kenin 6-3, 6-3 in the second round in Miami.

They were to meet again at Roland Garros, also in the second round.

But Andreescu was still battling the effects of the arm/shoulder issue that ended her Miami campaign. She had returned for the first time at Roland Garros. But then she ended up enmeshed in a marathon match against Marie Bouzkova that stretched over two days.

She won that lap, but lost the race as she withdrew before the match against Kenin.

Andreescu didn’t play again until the (then) Rogers Cup in Toronto.

There, after beating Genie Bouchard, Daria Kasatkina, No. 5 Kiki Bertens and No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, she ran into … Kenin again.

She defeated her 6-4, 7-6 (5), and then went on to win the title when Serena Williams retired in the final – and then the US Open.

Andreescu talks about the tough battle against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in Indian Wells, which ended in a tight defeat.

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