Andreescu, Bouchard set to face off in all-Canadian 1st-round match
Match features Canada's top 2 women's players
Bianca Andreescu let out a loud laugh when she saw her photo flash on screen alongside Eugenie Bouchard's at the Rogers Cup draw.
Andreescu and Bouchard — two of the only three Canadians in the main draw before the qualifiers begin Saturday — will face each other in the first round of the WTA Premier 5 tournament at Aviva Centre Tuesday night.
"Of course," Andreescu said with a smile when her first-round opponent was revealed Friday.
"That's a shocker. Basically the only two Canadians in the draw," the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., added when asked about the matchup in a post-draw press conference.
"We know each other very well, we've practised many times together so I know it's going to be a tough (match) and I'm sure there's going to be a huge crowd that night."
The draw for Canada's annual WTA Tour event was held on the 28th floor of a downtown Toronto hotel, with the city skyline and Lake Ontario serving as a beautiful backdrop.
Andreescu was seated at the front of the room with World No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan. The reigning U.S. Open and Australian Open champion has a bye into the second round.
While the draw revealed some exciting first-round matchups — American veteran Venus Williams will play Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro while Russia's Maria Sharapova will face Estonia's Anett Kontaveit — none will be more enticing to Canadian tennis fans than Andreescu vs. Bouchard.
Bouchard, a former world No. 5 from Westmount, Que., has slipped to No. 114 in the rankings after winning just two matches at the WTA Tour level this year and was given a wild card into the Rogers Cup.
The 26th-ranked Andreescu, meanwhile, had a rapid rise up the rankings earlier this year after a great start to the season, highlighted by her title at a big tournament in Indian Wells, Calif.
But Andreescu has played just one match since March because of the injury to her right shoulder.
Andreescu said the shoulder "feels good" now, four days before her scheduled first match. She withdrew from the Citi Open this week in Washington, D.C., in part to make sure she was ready for her hometown tournament.
'Really big step'
"I know this is a really big step because I'm playing at home," Andreescu said. "Rogers Cup is a really big tournament but I really think I'm ready.
"I've been training for the past month and a half or so."
Andreescu first suffered the injury in March, pulling out of a fourth-round match at the Miami Open with a subscapularis muscle tear in her right rotator cuff. She tried to play again at the French Open two months later — and won her first-round match — but pulled out of the major before the second round started.
Andreescu admitted Friday that she came back too soon from the injury, the first real setback she's had on the WTA tour.
"I try not to look at it as a setback and just as a challenge," she said. "I changed a lot of things, I tried to get better as a tennis player and a person so I'm really grateful for that experience."
Andreescu has faced Bouchard once before on the WTA Tour, crushing her 6-2, 6-0 earlier this year en route to a tournament title in Newport Beach, Calif.
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., who won the French Open junior girls title earlier this year, was the other Canadian in the main draw as of Friday night. She will face a qualifier in the first round after being given a wild card into the tournament.
Kvitova drops out
Earlier Friday, two-time Wimbledon champion 2012 Rogers Cup champ Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic dropped out because of an arm injury that initially flared up during the French Open.
"I'm so disappointed to have to withdraw from the Rogers Cup," Kvitova said in a statement. "My forearm injury is continuing to cause some problems so, on the advice of my medical team, I have made the decision not to travel to Canada."
The move makes Serena Williams a top-eight seed, giving the American star a bye in the first round. She'll play her opening match on Wednesday night.
Serena's sister Venus took the available spot in the main draw and her wild card went to two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.
Qualifying starts on Saturday. Main-draw play begins on Monday.