Tennis

Toronto | Giorgi sinks Raducanu, Andreescu upsets Kasatkina and Osaka bows out to Kanepi

Defending champion Camila Giorgi set aside any hopes Emma Raducanu fostered of a deep run at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Toronto, beating the 9th seed, 7-6(0) 6-2, on Tuesday, while Bianca Andreescu upset Daria Kasatkina, the 11th seed who won San Jose on Sunday, and Naomi Osaka bowed out to Kaia Kanepi, retiring with a bad back.

 

Man, I don’t want to dwell too much on it and, like, sound so dramatic. I really did not feel well. I don’t know what it was. Maybe a bunch of things. I’m back here, you know, three years later, I’m playing against a really great player. Maybe I ate too much before the match. I’ve never felt like that. Bianca Andreescu

Greece’s Maria Sakkari became the first player to move into the Round of 16 with a 6-2 4-6 6-2 win over American Sloane Stephens in Tuesday’s nightcap match.

In the first meeting between the two players, each of whom have career-high rankings of World No 3, Sakkari claimed the win in 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Sakkari finished with 36 winners to just 27 unforced errors, as she picked up her first win since the 2nd-round of Wimbledon, while, Stephens’ 17 winners were doubled by her 34 miscues.

Emma Raducanu squandered chances against the more experienced Camila Giorgi at Sobeys Stadium in Toronto

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Giorgi, the Italian World No 29, is an experienced campaigner at the age of 30 with a dangerous game, which she brought to bear against the British No 1.

“It was a great match,” Giorgi said after her win. “It’s always beautiful to come back here to Canada. I love to play here.”

The unseeded Italian, who arrived at Toronto’s WTA 1000 event on a 3-match skid, scored her 16th Top 10 victory and her 7th straight win in Canada over the last 12 months.

Last year in Montreal, Giorgi bagged the biggest title of her career with 6 wins over players including Elise Mertens, Petra Kvitova, Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula and Karolina Pliskova.

Giorgi’s win over Pliskova in last year’s final, in fact, was her last win at a WTA 1000 event before beating Raducanu as she did not play in Doha, Indian Wells or Miami this year, and lost in 1st-round in both Madrid and Rome.

Raducanu lost in the Citi Open quarter-finals to Liudmila Samsonova in Washington last week and preparations for her US Open title defence later this month took another hit in the city of her birth.

The British teenager squandered chances to seize the initiative in both sets and let slip a 2-0 lead in the second, before bowing out in one hour and 49 minutes.

Both lost their serves 3 times in the hard-fought opening set before Raducanu dug deep to fend off set point in the 12th game to force a tiebreak, but the 19-year-old lost her way and failed to win a single point as Giorgi forced 4 mini-breaks to seize control and take the first set after an hour and 11 minutes.

Having rebounded to edge the opener, Giorgi trailed 2-0, only to win 6 straight games on the trot as Raducanu’s resolve faded.

The Italian won a staggering 16 straight points from 1-1, 40-30, to 5-2, 40-0, but needed a 3rd match point, though, to wrap it up.

With her high-risk, high-reward game firing, Giorgi clobbered 31 winners and 31 unforced errors, far out-pacing Raducanu in both, as the Brit found just 3 winners and 9 miscues, striking all her winners in the first set.

Raducanu, who had failed to convert game point for a 5-3 lead in the opening set, broke Giorgi’s first service game in the second to lead 2-0, but was unable to penetrate the Italian’s attacking game as Giorgi broke straight back to reel off the next 5 games to set up a 2nd-round meeting with Belgium’s Elise Mertens, a 7-6(2) 6-1 winner over Anna Bondar from Hungary.

Bianca Andreescu overcame dizziness to take out Daria Kasatkina on Tuesday night

© Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Canada’s home favourite Andreescu, who won this event in 2019 before taking the US Open title in what was a breakout year for the 22-year-old, overcame illness to pull off a major upset of the in-form Kasatkina, beating the Russian 7-6(5) 6-4.

Andreescu has not won a tournament since 2019, having battled through injuries and taken a mental health break at one point in 2021, and made a lone final appearance this year at the Bad Homburg Open, where she fell to a resurgent Caroline Garcia from France.

On Tuesday night, there were 8 exchanges of first-set breaks before a tiebreak sorted the outcome in Andreescu’s favour, but the Canadian felt ‘like absolute crap’ during the ordeal and took a medical time-out mid way through the opener.

It was unclear what was bothering her, but as she took deep breaths and had her blood pressure checked, it seemed that dizziness was the issue.

Andreescu returned to the tour this season after a long layoff in 2020 and 2021 due to a knee injury and a bout with COVID, while last week she battled back pain in a 1st-round loss.

“Man, I don’t want to dwell too much on it and, like, sound so dramatic,” she said. “I really did not feel well.

“I don’t know what it was. Maybe a bunch of things. I’m back here, you know, three years later, I’m playing against a really great player. Maybe I ate too much before the match.

“I’ve never felt like that.

“Even though I might have looked dramatic I was trying my hardest not to show it.”

It was a twisty, topsy-turvy, gutsy performance from Andreescu, who made use of her meditation breath-calming discipline to get through the 2 hour and 29 minute encounter.

Neither was able to assert service command as the 1st set ran into an hour and 25 minute battle, with the unseeded Canadian twice failing to secure set point against her 11th-seeded opponent, Russia’s No 1 female player.

Andreescu settled down to prevail in the breaker but, with the match on her racket at 5-3 in the second, she succumbed to another break and immediately broke back to finally nail down the win.

The Canadian No 2 lines up her next test against France’s Alizé Cornet, who outlasted her countrywoman Garcia, 3-6 6-3 6-3, in her opening round.

Cornet has won their two previous meetings in straight sets, which both came on grass last year, at Berlin and two weeks later in the first round of Wimbledon.

“[Cornet is] a fighter,” Andreescu said. “I think she’s the one that stopped Iga [Swiatek’s 37-match winning] streak, right?

“So she’s definitely on a roll. But I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can get my revenge.”

Naomi Osaka wiped a tear after retiring against Kaia Kanepi with a back injury

© Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Osaka was trailing Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, 7-6(4) 3-0, when she withdrew from her opening match on Tuesday due to a back injury.

“I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying to push through it, I just wasn’t able to today,” Osaka said. “I’d like to pay credit to Kaia for playing well, and want to wish her all the best for the rest of the tournament.”

Entering the tournament, Osaka had been eliminated from her last 3 evenst in the first or second round, including a straight-sets loss to Coco Gauff at last week’s Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, her first tournament since the French Open as she recovered from an Achilles injury.

Prior to that run, she had her best tournament of the year making it to the final of the Miami Open in early April before losing to top-ranked Iga Swiatek.

Osaka struggled with unforced errors and made 4 of her 5 double-faults in the first set and, although she won the first game with the help of 3 unforced errors from Kanepi, the 4-time Grand Slam champion lost her momentum after going up 2-1.

Kanepi won 4 of the next 7 games to go up 5-3 and, from there, Osaka had to fight her way out of 2 set-point opportunities from the Estonian.

With a mix of a strong backhand and multiple errors from Kanepi, Osaka was able to tie it up and send the set to a tiebreak, in which they tied to 3-3 before the Estonian cranked up her play to take 4 of the next 5 points as the Japanese handed her set point on a shot past the baseline.

Kanepi built on that momentum in the second, taking advantage of Osaka’s mishaps and firing sharp forehands past the Japanese.

After firing her second ace of the match earlier in the final game, Kanepi closed out with a strong serve that Osaka returned high and wide.

Osaka received treatment in a medical timeout midway through the first set, and then again before the second frame, before informing the chair umpire that she was unable to continue at 3-0 down.

The 31st-ranked Kanepi, who was a finalist in Washington at the weekend, will next play No 8 Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain.

Upset-specialist Kanepi, who has 10 career wins over Top 10 players at Grand Slam events, has a 1-1 head-to-head record against Muguruza.

Coco Gauff was an easy straight sets winner over Madison Brengle at the WTA 1000 in Toronto on Tuesday

© Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Earlier in the day, 10th seed Coco Gauff cruised into the second round by beating fellow American Madison Brengle, 6-1 6-3, while Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo and China’s Qinwen Zheng all progressed.

Gauff, the 10th seed, saw off Brengle, 6-1 6-3, in an inter-generational contest that saw the 18-year old post her second win in as many meetings over her 32-year old compatriot, and setting up an intriguing first-time encounter between Gauff and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

This time round, the Roland Garros runner-up dropped one fewer game in each set to win in 62 minutes.

Gauff delivered a near-flawless performance off the ground and at net, finding 28 winners to only 7 unforced errors.

The clash between two of the speediest players on tour saw the pair run each other to every corner of the court and, despite the scoreline, Brengle acquitted herself well with several superb gets.

Gauff has now won 6 of her last 7 matches against fellow Americans, and leads her compatriots 15-6 at tour level.

Having lost both of her previous meetings with Veronika Kudermetova, Tomljanovic, a qualifier from Australia, battled past the Russian, 6-4 2-6 7-6(3), to set up a meeting with top seed and World No 1 Iga Swiatek on Thursday.

Spain’s Sorribes Tormo had her hands full with American qualifier Claire Liu, but eventually edged past, 7-6(4) 2-6 7-7(5).

Liu led Sorribes Tormo 4-1 in the deciding set, but was unable to close out the indefatigable Spaniard, who surged back to win in 3 hours and 33 minutes, the third-longest WTA main-draw match of 2022 so far.

The contest was an absorbing stylistic contrast that saw Liu swarm the net at every opportunity, while Sorribes Tormo responded with her customary skill on passing shots and lobs.

Liu’s strategy paid dividends as she dominated the second set, but a series of unforced errors crept into her game as she neared the finishing line.

In the end, it was Sorribes Tormo who took control, sealing her 2nd match point with a successful serve-and-volley foray.

China’s Zheng disappointed the home crowd by eliminating Canadian No 3 Rebecca Marino, who was wild-carded into the main draw, 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4.

Marino, who just made it back into the top 100 for the first time since 2012, fell to 19-year old Chinese, after a 2 hour 28 minute contest.

America’s World No 22 Amanda Anisimova needed only 56 minutes to storm past another Canadian wild-card Carol Zhao, ranked 188, 6-1 6-3.

Anisimova continues a stellar season where she has compiled a 32-12 win-loss record, including a title at Melbourne Summer Set 2, and a run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

The American will take on 14th-seed Karolina Pliskova from Czech Republic in the 2nd-round.

Last week, in San Jose, Anisimova earned a milestone victory when she beat Pliskova for the first time in their 5 meetings.

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