The new season has sprung surprises and great expectations for the 18-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu. She's won her maiden WTA title a few days ago, at the Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach, California.
The opponent was Jessica Pegula who thought she'd have the winning racket but lost 6-0, 4-6, 2-6 in a one-sided battle. Andreescu's start at the Oracle Challenger was marked with hope as her first and second rounds she dominated with smart play and tough strategies against Katie Volynets and Marie Bouzkova.
But in the quarterfinal, she met up with a highly respected lady Canadian, Eugenie Bouchard. Andreescu kept her game face on and determination high, winning the opening set 6-2. She was able to easily dismantle Bouchard's game when she appeared not to play a dictating game as did in previous tournaments, showing less accurate and powerful serves and appeared to have a slight injury losing the deciding set with a bagel of 6-0.
The match took nearly 50 minutes as the younger Canadian was a bit surprised and said that "Even though Eugenie didn't look so well, I tried to stay focused on myself. I just kept pushing and I'm really glad I got the win today."
The next round was her meet with the Tatjana Maria that went the three-set distance by Andreescu came up the winner, feeling good into approaching the final as she did at the ASC Classic in Auckland, but this result was the remarkable distance.
Andreescu's opponent in the final was the 24-year-old Jessica Pegula who despite a 10-year career with the WTA, just had the first meeting with Andreescu. The opening set for the Canadian was a disaster as she lost 0-6 in barely 30 minutes.
"I just tried to calm myself down, because I was getting really annoyed..." She knew her task would be huge in turning the match around and she did so by keeping focus and playing strategies perfectly to win the second and deciding sets 6-4, 6-2.
Andreescu had broken Pegula to lead 3-2 in the second set but the fight had only begun as the games soon were tied at 4-all. Pegula intensely hit sharp angled cross courts and drop shots a few at appropriate times to win games over the Canadian.
But Andreescu had the power and fiery determination to win the second set 6-4 and the decider was in the Canadian's hands which she manipulated well and won the match and title 0-6, 6-4, 6-2. Glad she had won the championship, she still admitted that "Today, a lot didn't work for me, but I just tried and pushed myself right until the end."
She acknowledged that it was a gritty game she played to win and says "..if you have to win scrappy, you got to win scrappy." A first-time title is a great thing as well as also raising her ranking by 45 points from ranked 106 to now in the mid-60s.
It was the down times of injuries, having to leave the court in April in a wheelchair with intense cramps as well as back pains which caused her to drop out of a tournament in July along with having a foot stress fracture and other ailments taking her off the court for months.
It was the down times that caused Andreescu to appreciate what she has and says "I think it's actually helped me to get to where I am right now."