Andreescu moves on to quarters at China Open after 17th consecutive win

Bianca-Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu of Canada waves to spectators after defeating Jennifer Brady of the United States in their third round of the women's singles match in the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (Andy Wong / AP)

BEIJING — Bianca Andreescu’s next test figures to be one of her biggest challenges of the year.

The Canadian tennis star set up a quarterfinal showdown with Japan’s Naomi Osaka on Friday by winning her WTA Tour season-high 17th match in a row — downing American Jennifer Brady 6-1, 6-3 in the third round of the China Open on Thursday.

Andreescu, ranked sixth in the world, and No. 4 Osaka have combined to win the past three Grand Slams on hard courts. The 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., won this year’s U.S. Open last month in New York, while Osaka prevailed at this year’s Australian Open and last year’s U.S. Open.

It will be their first career meeting.

"Ever since she started doing well at the U.S. Open, Australian Open, I’ve really wanted to play her," said Andreescu, who is 8-0 against top-10 players this year, with all the matches coming on hard courts.

"I’m glad I have the opportunity now. I think it’s going to be a really tough match. She’s an incredible athlete and player. If I just go out there and play my game, hopefully I can do good things."

Osaka has not lost any of her 14 sets during the current Asian swing, highlighted by a tournament win last week in Osaka, Japan.

The 21-year-old Osaka beat American Alison Riske 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday in the third round of the US$8.285 million Premier-Mandatory event.

The Osaka-Andreescu clash could have a significant impact on the world rankings. Currently, Andreescu is projected to jump to No. 4 in the rankings next week, while Osaka would fall to No. 6.

But that could change if Osaka prevails. Six of the top eight players are in the China Open quarterfinals, which could result in more shuffling as the week progresses.

Andreescu was much happier with her performance against the 66th-ranked Brady than her previous win over Elise Mertens of Belgium.

"I think today was a very solid match from my end," she said. "I executed the right tactics, I stayed as positive as I could because yesterday wasn’t so (good) on the attitude aspect of things.

"Today, I’m really proud with my attitude. I think that was the main thing today, and my serve."

Andreescu saved all four of Brady’s four break points and improved with her serve. The Canadian put 63 per cent of her first serves in and won 78 per cent of first-serve points.

Andreescu had five aces and just one double fault.

"She’s a very good server, so I had to make sure my serve went well today," Andreescu said. "I think when I do play big servers, my serve kind of levels up with them unconsciously. I don’t know how but it does, which is a good thing. I’m really pleased with that."

Top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia will face No. 7 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina will meet No. 8 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and No. 16 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark will square off with unseeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia in the other quarterfinals.

On the men’s side, Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime was eliminated in the second round, falling 6-3, 6-1 to No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany.

Zverev was outstanding with his first serve, winning 93 per cent of points when he got it in. Auger-Aliassime didn’t have one break-point opportunity.

The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime, ranked 20th in the world, has lost five of his past six matches.

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