AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu came up one set short in an attempt at her first WTA Tour title.
Julia Goerges of Germany beat the 18-year-old Andreescu 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Sunday to win the ASB Classic for the second year in a row.
The match started well for Andreescu, who took the first set in only 30 minutes, unsettling the second-seeded Goerges with the same aggressive return game and mix of strokes which had derailed her earlier opponents. But the tide changed late in the second set as Goerges began to put more first serves in play and gain more depth with her ground strokes, forcing the Mississauga, Ont., native onto the defensive.
"It is disappointing, I was one game away from winning the match, so I’ll probably be thinking about this for the next couple of days," said Andreescu, who earned entry into the tournament as a qualifier. "But I can’t complain. I had an amazing week, I beat a lot of top players. I’m just really proud of myself."
Goerges clinched the second set in 45 minutes with a pivotal break in the 11th game, then took the deciding third set in only 23 minutes as Andreescu tired in her eighth match at the tournament. She broke Andreescu in the first, fifth and seventh games to clinch her seventh WTA Tour singles title.
"This meant a lot," Goerges said. "I don’t know what to say right now because Bianca gave me a hard time today. She played some terrific tennis, different from a lot of players on the tour and I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot more of her."
Andreescu, who entered No. 152 in world rankings and had to go through qualifying just to get in, put together some spectacular upsets on her way to the final in the tune-up event for the Australian Open.
Prior to falling to world No. 14 Goerges, she knocked out former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and American Venus Williams, then cruised past 28th-ranked Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan in the semifinals. Wozniacki is currently the world No. 3 and the reigning Australian Open champion.
"It feels really good, I’m not going to lie," said Andreescu. "But I’m just trying to stay grounded right now, stay humble, and use it to my advantage."
Goerges ousted Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., earlier in the week on her way back to the championship match. Andreescu, meanwhile, won seven straight matches including three qualifiers just to face the 30-year-old German in the final.
Earlier in the day, Bouchard captured her first career doubles title alongside American partner Sofia Kenin.
The duo beat Taylor Townsend and Paige Mary Hourigan 1-6, 6-1, 10-7 in the women’s championship match.
The US$250,000 WTA Tour event is a warmup for the first Grand Slam of the season.
— with files from The Associated Press