The dream lives on: Andreescu holds off Kenin to reach Toronto final

The dream lives on: Andreescu holds off Kenin to reach Toronto final

The 19-year-old is the first Canadian woman to advance to the Rogers Cup championship match in 50 years and is now a win away from adding to her Indian Wells triumph.

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu continued her dream run at her home tournament on Saturday, edging American Sofia Kenin in two tight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (5), to reach the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Andreescu is the first Canadian woman to reach the Rogers Cup final in 50 years. The only Canadian man to reach the final in the last 50 years was Milos Raonic, a runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2013.

“I’ve been through so much in the last two months,” Andreescu said in her on-court interview straight after the match, fighting back tears. “All I can say is that I’m so happy to be back on the court right now. My shoulder’s good, and I’m in the finals of the Rogers Cup. Life’s freaking amazing!”

There was little separating the two players early on, as the first eight games went to the server, but Andreescu broke the match open from there, digging out of a 15-40 hole to hold for 5-4 and breaking for the set, carving out a forehand drop shot and then putting away a forehand volley on set point.

Andreescu would eventually build a 6-4, 5-2 lead, seemingly on her way to a routine second set, but things weren’t even close to over. Kenin not only won the next three games to get back to 5-all in the second set, she also fought off three match points while serving to stay in the match at 5-6, the first two with forehand and backhand winners and the third when an Andreescu forehand sailed long.

Andreescu improved to 2-1 against Kenin this season. (Getty Images)

But the 19-year-old Canadian finally closed it out after two hours and 11 minutes in a second set tiebreaker, ripping one last backhand winner on her fifth match point just out of the American’s reach.

“I’m glad it was two sets today, but it wasn’t easy,” Andreescu said. “I was up 5-2 and she came back, and I was so, so nervous at the end, I’m not going to lie. I guess I felt like crying after the match because I’m just so happy to be back on court right now, and in the final of the Rogers Cup.

“I’d say this is even bigger than winning Indian Wells, really.”

Andreescu is now 2-1 against Kenin at the tour level, with all three of those meetings coming this year. The American won in Acapulco before the Canadian reversed the outcome to win the latest two clashes in Miami and now Toronto.

They were going to play in the second round of Roland Garros as well, but Andreescu had to give Kenin a walkover due to her ongoing shoulder injury. Kenin beat Serena Williams in the next round.

Andreescu is now into her third career WTA final, all of them this year, having finished runner-up to Julia Goerges in Auckland in the first week of the year and then winning Indian Wells in March.

She’ll now play either Serena or qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who will take the court later Saturday for their semifinal.

“If Serena gets to the final, I’ve always wanted to play her,” Andreescu said. “I’m beyond excited.”

Whatever happens in the final, the Canadian is projected to make her Top 20 debut on Monday.