Getting to know Bianca Andreescu

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Getting to know Bianca Andreescu

As she and her family packed their luggage to travel to the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, this 18-year-old would never think her life would change dramatically. "Honestly, I can't believe it right now...", said Bianca Andreescu, the teenage Canadian who had just done something she might have only dreamed of and that's defeating a number one ranked WTA player.

It happened during the second round at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. Andreescu might have thought she'd gotten the raw end of the draw by having to play the WTA number one Caroline Wozniacki being only a qualifier.

'What can I do to win any game over her?' 'Will I be able to relax and execute my shots well?' 'How can I stop her from dictating over me?' might have been questions going through her mind, but out on court, she was on her own and knew it.

Bianca Vanessa Andreescu, of Romanian descent, was born in a highly populated town of Mississauga Ontario, Canada, where she learned how to play tennis at seven and by 11, had joined the Ontario Training Center in Toronto.

At 14, she knew her passion was tennis and soon held titles in singles and doubles as well as winning the Orange Bowl in the 16-under age group. At such a young age her accomplishments are impeccable. Andreescu was named the 2015 Outstanding Junior Female by Tennis Canada.

The following year 2016, she was the top girl junior player of the Australian Open and moved through to the third round before coming upon a roadblock to her success -- injuries of the adductor, right ankle and a foot stress fracture keeping her off the court for six months.

But things started developing well after recuperation and she was in the 2016 Girls US Open Juniors, making it through the semifinals in singles and quarters in doubles. She went deep in many Challengers but the kickstart happened in 2017 upon winning a few Challenger titles and going deep at the French Open, quarters in singles and semis in doubles.

It was Wimbledon, her first WTA tournament after turning pro that year she'd win over Camila Giorgi at the opening round and then Kristina Mladenovic her first player in the top 20s to defeat. In 2018 she sharpened her game playing more Challengers and was runner-up in Kofu and Kashiwa, then won two Challenger titles, one in South Carolina and the other in Oklahoma.

But the beginning of this year 2019 started off with a sizzle as Andreescu played Wozniacki in Auckland. She played a spirited first set winning 6-4 by dictating points, moving the Dane around and giving out a variation of shots that nearly pushed her off the court.

The second set was a bit more challenged to the Canadian teen as Wozniacki led 3-2, but a drop shot had the Dane running up to net missing it in two bounces. It took only one more rally and an Andreescu blasted forehand to win the point, match and round booking her trip to the quarterfinals.

The next opponent was a tall order in the form of Venus Williams whose thick resume was superly impressive for the qualifier to believe what might result. But what may look good on paper, has nothing to do with the journey of results and in the first set Williams appeared to be more relaxed and warmed up than Andreescu who had just come off a fantastic win.

The rallies from both were great but Williams went up a break making it 6-5 and the teen started to panic as her coach Virginie Tremblay said to her defiantly "Look, it's not over. Keep fighting". The young Canadian did bring the set to a tiebreak but came unravelled with strategies and nerves to lose the set.

The second set was completely different as Andreescu corrected mistakes made in the first. It was a combo of so many things she did well from dictating shots, moving Williams around and drop shotting her at the perfect time to win the point.

Both had suspenseful rallies but it wasn't long before the qualifier ended the points quickly and going up five straight games as the commentator said excitingly "Andreescu is closing in...Now she just believes she's gonna go on and win...Venus Williams has completely lost her way".

The Canadian did try to close but gave Williams the chance at one game resulting in a 6-1 score. But the deciding set would tell the tale and the Canadian played smart with consistency and focus she reeled off five straight games, but nervousness and unforced errors tore into her as Williams showed 'come back powers' getting three straight games on Andreescu to make the score 5-3.

Nothing could keep the teen from living her dream as she cranked up her game into another gear, blasting shots and Venus Williams returning a shot off balanced into the alley giving Andreescu the win and a trip to the semifinal at Auckland.

She couldn't believe it and did her traditional bend down position to catch her breath and excitement at what just happened. She'd told the on-court commentator "I believe that anything is possible and tonight I did the impossible", she said as perspiration had visibly soaked through her outfit.

She couldn't think of defeating Wozniacki and Williams in the same tournament and laughingly said about coming to New Zealand "My goal was to go a couple of rounds". She's off to the semifinal and sums up the experience saying "I believe in myself to the end".