It didn’t take too long for Bianca Andreescu to make her first deep run in a tournament since her comeback from injury, did it? As the second seed at the Phillip Island Trophy – a WTA 250 event – the 20-year-old has reached the semi-finals thanks to a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory over Irina-Camelia Begu.
Billie Jean King Cup fans will remember the first meeting between the two players – a 2018 tie where the Romanian beat the Canadian 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2. In their most recent matches, however – at the 2019 events in Indian Wells and Miami – Andreescu had come out on top.
Having already overcome the United States’ Madison Brengle and Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas in the previous rounds, Andreescu entered this match with Begu as favourite, despite having just returned to action last week at the Australian Open, where she made an early second-round exit.
In this encounter, the Canadian showed the type of ferocity, speed and power that had served her so well in her breakout 2019. She took the first set 6-3 with a series of strong forehands on match point paving the way forward. The second set went Begu’s way, meaning the third was up for grabs – as was a place in the semi-finals.
Andreescu went a break down immediately and the warning signs were beginning to show. We needn’t have worried as the Canadian battled back to 2-2. But that wasn’t the end of the story as both players converted another break to force the match into a tiebreak.
There, Andreescu held strong and manufactured a match point at *6-5. With both players seemingly exhausted, they produced one of the best rallies in the match. It took a special forehand, right down the line and out of Begu’s reach, for Andreescu to finish off the Romanian and book her place in the semi-finals, where she’ll face 13th seed Marie Bouzkova.
Meanwhile, in mixed doubles action at the Australian Open, Gaby Dabrowski and doubles partner Mate Pavic were beaten 7-6(3), 6-3 by sixth seeds Rajeev Ram and Barbora Krejcikova in the quarter-finals. Dabrowski, who also reached the second round with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in doubles, was hoping to repeat her 2018 run to the mixed doubles title in Melbourne.