Canada’s Bianca Andreescu beats Kasatkina in first round of National Bank Open

Bianca Andreescu battled hard to defeat Daria Kasatkina in straight sets 7-6, 6-4, and advance past the round of 64 at the National Bank Open.

TORONTO — Bianca Andreescu willed her way to an exciting 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina in her opening round match at the National Bank Open on Tuesday.

Andreescu, of Mississauga, Ont., won this event in 2019 before taking the U.S. Open title in what was a breakout year for the 22-year-old.

Canadian. She hasn’t won a tournament since, having battled through injuries and taking a “mental break” at one point in 2021.

Andreescu’s lone final appearance this year has been at the Bad Homburg Open where she fell to Caroline Garcia.

Andreescu will play Alize Cornet of France in the second round.

Andreescu was sharp and active early on Tuesday, making comebacks within games she later won, and going 3-for-3 on break points through the first five games.

Up 3-2, she mixed up her shots, using forehands, backhands and drop shots, making the world No. 9 Kasatkina work. A Kasatkina error allowed Andreescu to have some breathing room with a 4-2 lead.

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However, Kasatkina turned it up a notch, taking three of the next four games to tie it at 5-5, using a strong forehand flying out of Andreescu’s reach. Andreescu took a 6-5 lead in the following game.

After Kasatkina tied the set at 6-6, Andreescu scored six out the final eight points in the tiebreaker to win the set, capitalized by a powerful forehand. The set took 85 minutes to play.

In the second set, Andreescu jumped out to a strong start, outlasting Kasatkina through multiple lengthy exchanges as the Russian committed multiple errors, sending shots into the net.

Andreescu again began to mix it up between drop shots and forehands that Kasatkina struggled to return with accuracy at times, as the Canadian grabbed a 2-0 lead.

With the next two games going to Kasatkina, the following game also went to deuce with Andreescu giving up the advantage on an error, before Kasatkina nailed a forehand past her to go up 3-2.

After taking the next game with a forehand then error from Kasatkina, Andreescu was able to restore her lead at 4-3 with another impressive forehand that was just inside the baseline and sideline.

Andresscu won her third consecutive game on a deuce to go up 5-3, where she fired a forehand winner past Kasatkina who was visibly frustrated after.

With the home crowd behind her, as they had been many times on the night, Andreescu went up 40-0 in the clinching game before committing two errors. She then used another drop shot that Kasatkina could not run down.

She immediately raised her hands as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

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