Canada’s Andreescu, Auger-Aliassime advance to Italian Open quarterfinals

Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, returns the ball during a match against Danielle Collins, of USA, at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu and Felix Auger-Aliassime are heading to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.

Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., beat world No. 47 Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4 in the women’s round of 16 on Thursday at the clay-court event.

The eighth-seeded Auger-Aliassime, from Montreal, beat American Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2 in men’s action. He has advanced to the quarterfinals in four consecutive clay-court tourneys.

It marks Andreescu’s first quarterfinal appearance in her three tournaments back since returning from a six-plus-month absence from tour.

“It feels really great,” Andreescu said. “I feel like every match, I’m building and building. The first tournament, I won one match, the second tournament I won two and now I’ve won three. It’s a great building block for me and I feel like my game’s getting better and better.”

Andreescu, ranked No. 90, saved six of seven break points and converted on three of her four opportunities.

The 2019 U.S. Open champion will world No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland in the quarterfinals. Swiatek beat No. 16 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday.

It will be the first career pro match between Swiatek and Andreescu.

“She’s playing great tennis,” Andreescu said of Swiatek. “I really admire her success. I’m very excited to play her. I love the challenge.”

Later Thursday, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., faces Spanish legend Rafael Nadal in round-of-16 action.

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