Andreescu wins first WTA title, becomes top-ranked Canadian on tour

Canada's Bianca Andreescu. (Aaron Favila/AP)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu earned her first WTA tournament title on Sunday, defeating American Jessica Pegula 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 at the Oracle Challenger Series.

The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., rebounded from a disastrous first set with a tightly contested second and a dominant third set that saw her break Pegula three times.

Andreescu, the No. 6 seed at the tournament, converted on 5-of-7 break points and saved 3 of 8.

Pegula, ranked No. 113, was the seventh seed at the tournament.

Later Sunday, Pickering, Ont., native Brayden Schnur lost to top-seeded American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the men’s final.

With the win, Andreescu will pass Eugenie Bouchard on the WTA tour rankings when they are announced Monday. She’s expected to jump to No. 68 in the world while Bouchard will be ranked 76th. Bouchard, who has been the top Canadian almost exclusively since her memorable 2014 season, was ranked No. 79 while Andreescu was ranked a career-high No. 106 when the rankings last updated on Jan. 14.

After struggling through a first set that lasted just 27 minutes, Andreescu broke Pegula for the first time to go up 3-2 in the second. The American replied with a break of her own to tie it at 4-all but Andreescu bounced right back with another break and held serve to set up the third and deciding set.

The two traded breaks over the first three games of the third set before Andreescu took a 4-1 lead with her third break and cruised to victory from there.

Andreescu, who doesn’t turn 19 until June, is 16-2 since the new tennis season began on Dec. 28.

She started 2019 with a finals appearance at the ASB Classic in New Zealand — marking her first time playing in a championship match at a WTA event — then went through three rounds of qualifying for the Australian Open before winning her first-round matchup. She bowed out with a second-round loss against No. 13 seed Anastaija Sevastova.

Andreescu dispatched third-seeded Bouchard in the quarterfinals this week before dropping second-seeded Tatjana Maria of Germany in a three-set semifinal that lasted nearly three hours on Saturday.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.