Tennis·ROUNDUP

Canada's Bianca Andreescu bounced by Zheng Qinwen in National Bank Open

Canada's Bianca Andreescu lost to China's Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, as she was eliminated from the National Bank Open on Thursday. Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, Ont., was the last Canadian playing in the women's tennis tournament.

Auger-Aliassime tops Norrie in front of home crowd in Montreal, advances to quarters

Canada's Bianca Andreescu hits a return shot during a match against China's Qinwen Zheng at the National Bank Open in Toronto on Thursday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Although Bianca Andreescu was eliminated from the National Bank Open, the week as a whole felt like a win.

Back pain had made it doubtful that Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, Ont., would be able to play in the only Canadian stop on the WTA Tour's schedule, but nearly a week of rest before her first match gave her enough time to recover. The 22-year-old Andreescu played three lengthy matches in Toronto, reaching the Round of 16 where she fell to China's Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, on Thursday.

"I'm just super happy that I was able to play this tournament, first of all," said Andreescu, who was visibly in pain during a first-round loss in San Jose on Aug. 2. "I had no expectations going in.

"All I wanted to do was enjoy myself as much as I could, have fun, get the crowd going and just give my all. And I think I did that."

Andreescu was the last Canadian playing in either the women's singles or doubles tournament. Felix Auger-Aliassime is the only Canadian left on the men's side in his hometown of Montreal.

WATCH | Andreescu bounced by Zheng at National Bank Open:

Canada's Bianca Andreescu eliminated from National Bank Open

2 months ago
Duration 2:58
Bianca Andreescu lost to China's Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 Thursday at the National Bank Open.

The Sobeys Stadium crowd was very much behind Andreescu throughout the match, including Toronto Blue Jays infielders Santiago Espinal and Bo Bichette as well as Olympic sprinter Andre De Grasse.

"Oh, now I really wish I would have won. Damn it," said Andreescu, putting her head into her hands when she learned De Grasse and the Blue Jays were in the stands.

"To hear that makes me so proud to be Canadian. To have that Canadian support from, not only tennis athletes, but other athletes, it means a lot. Truly."

Zheng will play Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Friday in the WTA tournament's quarter-final.

Andreescu made the most of her home-court advantage, egging the crowd on after critical points in the second set.

She pumped her fist and yelled after Zheng's return on game point was well past the baseline. Then Andreescu threw her hands up, encouraging fans to cheer, when Zheng's return was long on set point.

"I really wish I won for you guys," said Andreescu, referring to the fans. "Honestly, without you I don't think I would have gone past the first round.

That momentum did not carry into the third set, with Andreescu quickly falling behind 3-1.

Although Andreescu won a game point, earning her chants of "Let's go Bi-bi!", she gave up three break points as Zheng took a 4-2 lead. A hard forehand smash to the opposite court by Zheng added to that advantage.

Zheng said that although she doesn't like it when fans shout between her first and second serve she's going to work at not getting distracted. Aside from those shouts, Zheng said she wasn't bothered by the Canadian fans.

"This is normal, you know? I'm playing in Canada," she said. "The crowd gives tennis a lot of energy and I like that. The crowd give both of us a lot of power."

Zheng put the match away on a double break point when Andreescu charged the net and the 19-year-old Chinese player put the ball deep but in.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland was stunned by Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 earlier in the day. The unseeded Haddad Maia had already upset 13th-seeded Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., on Wednesday.

The top-ranked Swiatek said the swirling gusts in the bowl-shaped stadium were an issue for her.

"Right now it's hard to say if it was more her game or the wind that really messed up my first set," said Swiatek, who was playing Haddad Maia for the first time. "I think she just used the conditions better than me.

"When she was playing with the wind she was playing really strong balls and sometimes I was late for them."

Haddad Maia will face Switzerland's Belinda Bencic in the quarters. Bencic made quick work of Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the late match on Thursday, winning 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour.

The wind was also a factor in Coco Gauff's afternoon win. The American moved on to the quarter-finals with an entertaining and error-filled 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (4) win over Aryna Sabalenka.

Sabalenka committed 18 double faults and Gauff hit into 15. Sabalenka had 42 unforced errors overall, while Gauff had 32.

"It was a difficult match for both of us," said Gauff. "Obviously, we were both struggling with the serve. The conditions weren't easy today, a lot of wind."

Gauff will face Romania's Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. Halep, a two-time Canadian Open champion, defeated Switzerland's Jil Teichmann 6-2, 7-5 to begin the day's slate of matches at Centre Court.

Seventh seed Jessica Pegula of the United States came back from a set down to defeat defending champion Camila Giorgi of Italy 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Pegula will play Yulia Putintseva in the quarters after the player from Kazakhstan beat Alison Riske-Amritraj of the U.S. 6-3, 7-5.

Auger-Aliassime advances to quarters

On the men's side, a powerful service game gave Auger-Aliassime a distinct advantage in his third-round match at the National Bank Open on Thursday afternoon.

Cameron Norrie had no answer for it and then watched his own service game fall apart.

The sixth-seeded Auger-Aliassime fired 15 aces in a 6-3, 6-4 victory over the ninth-seeded Brit to earn a quarterfinal berth at his hometown tournament.

"That was a very convincing win," Auger-Aliassime said. "I served really well but I felt like I was also putting a lot of pressure on him at every opportunity that I had."

Norrie buckled in his final service game with three double-faults.

WATCH l Auger-Aliassime defeats Norrie in front of home crowd in Montreal:

Montreal's Auger-Aliassime serves 3 aces in clinching game of dominant straight sets win

2 months ago
Duration 1:13
Auger-Aliassime moves on to the National Bank Open quarterfinals on the strength of 15 aces.

With the clouds cleared after a mid-afternoon storm, the left-hander had to deal with the blinding late-afternoon sun right in his toss sightline at 4-4. It led to struggles at a most inopportune time.

Auger-Aliassime took full advantage with a rather easy break before serving things out for the victory in 72 minutes.

"I got a bit lucky," he said. "He can hit double-faults, but I've never seen him hit three double-faults in a game like that. That was a bit fortunate."

Auger-Aliassime posted a first-serve percentage of 85 per cent. Norrie did not record an ace and landed just 73 per cent of his first serves.

Next up for the 22-year-old Canadian is a quarterfinal matchup with fourth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway, who posted a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory over No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

Auger-Aliassime and Ruud are the two highest seeded players remaining in the draw. Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia, No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain and No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece all lost their opening matches on Wednesday at IGA Stadium.

The ninth-seeded Norrie beat the Montrealer in the semifinals last week in Los Cabos, Mexico for his first victory over Auger-Aliassime in five tries on the ATP Tour.

"It was very positive for me against a player of his calibre to be able to get back to winning ways against him," Auger-Aliassime said.

There was a clear home-court advantage this time around. The crowd let out a roar as soon as Auger-Aliassime was pictured on the stadium screens for his walk through the tunnel to centre court.

The last Canadian remaining in the field at the Masters 1000 event, Auger-Aliassime applied pressure with Norrie serving at 3-4 in the opener. He came to the net at 30-30 and made a series of volleys that had the Brit running from side to side.

WATCH l Auger-Aliassime wins long rally against Norrie:

Auger-Aliassime hits a great volley winner at the net after long rally

2 months ago
Duration 1:03
Felix Auger-Aliassime had the point of the match in the first set, which led to a key break.

Auger-Aliassime earned a break point and delivered an emphatic fist pump to the crowd's delight. Norrie was long on the next rally and the Canadian served it out for the set.

Eighth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz also advanced Thursday as he outlasted Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (3) while Nick Kyrgios beat fellow Australian Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-3.

Gael Monfils, the No. 17 seed from France, retired early in the second set of his match against British qualifier Jack Draper. Monfils, who trailed 6-2, 0-2 at the time, received treatment in the right ankle area but couldn't continue.

Tenth-seeded American Taylor Fritz was also eliminated after dropping a 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5 decision to Britain's Daniel Evans.

Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta took out seventh-seeded Italian Jannik Sinner 6-2, 6-4 in the evening session and American Tommy Paul eliminated No. 13 Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4, 6-2.

The Ruud-Bautista Agut match was completed over four hours after its initial start time. A rain delay stopped play for just over an hour.

The $6.57-million US tournament continues through Sunday.

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