Bianca Andreescu crushes Eugenie Bouchard in all-Canadian quarterfinal

Bianca Andreescu returns a shot to Eugenie Bouchard during their quarterfinal at the Oracle Challenger Series tennis tournament Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Newport Beach, Calif. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — It didn’t take long for Bianca Andreescu to continue her dream start to 2019.

The sixth-seeded Andreescu needed only 53 minutes to defeat No. 3 Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-0 in an all-Canadian quarterfinal at the Oracle Challenger Series on Friday.

Andreescu advanced to the semifinals against No. 2 Tatjana Maria on Saturday, the latest achievement this month for the 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont.

She defeated Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams en route to the final of the ASB Classic in New Zealand, and followed it up by qualifying for the Australian Open and advancing to the second round.

"I’m just really proud of myself with how I held physically and mentally because I know I have played a lot of matches in a row, but I think right now just everything is clicking for me," Andreescu said.

"I’ve been putting a lot of work in and I’ve been through a lot with injuries so my main focus is to just try to stay healthy. And I’m healthy right now so hopefully I can stay like this the rest of the season."

Showing no signs of the back injury that limited her in 2018, Andreescu broke Bouchard’s serve in the third game of the first set and pulled away behind her own dominant service game. Andreescu won 78 per cent of her first-serve points and 71 per cent of second-serve points, putting an aspect of her game she had been intent on refining during the pre-season into practice.

Bouchard was nowhere near as effective with her serve, struggling to generate power and accuracy. The former No. 5 player in the world in 2014, Bouchard won 54 per cent of her first-serve points.

Bouchard’s second-serve was far less effective at 30 per cent, which allowed Andreescu to end the first-ever meeting between the Fed Cup teammates quickly by claiming the second set in 20 minutes

Andreescu noticed that Bouchard seemed to be dealing with a possible injury, but the 24-year-old did not request treatment or a meeting with a trainer during the match.

Bouchard did not speak with reporters following the match.

"Even though Eugenie didn’t look so well I tried to stay focused on myself," Andreescu said. "I just kept pushing and I’m really glad I got the win today."

While there was little drama on the court, Andreescu was pleased with what the matchup of the two highest-ranked Canadian women in the world represented. Bouchard entered the tournament ranked No. 79, with Andreescu closing fast at No. 106.

"Oh, it’s amazing for Canadian tennis, being in the quarterfinals here in Newport," Andreescu said.

There was little time to celebrate for Andreescu, not with a match against Maria ahead. Andreescu was already planning a night of physical recovery while watching Netflix to ready herself to face the German, ranked No. 74 in the world, looking to build on the success she has already has had this year.

"It for sure gives me confidence, but I want to put that aside and keep focusing on today," Andreescu said.

On the men’s side, Brayden Schnur of Pickering, Ont., also secured a semifinal spot.

The No. 16-seeded Schnur, of Pickering, Ont., upset No. 6 Jason Jung of Taiwan 6-2, 6-1.

Schnur, 23, is ranked 196th in the world, while Jung is 120th. Schnur beat the 81st-ranked Mackenzie McDonald of the U.S., the No. 3 seed, on Thursday.

It marks Schnur’s third consecutive semifinal appearance at an ATP Tour Challenger event. He’ll face unseeded American Donald Young on Saturday.

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