If Bianca Andreescu needed a spark to ignite her return to tennis’s top tier, she might have found it Monday night after knocking off Liudmila Samsonova in the WTA San Diego Open.
The 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., upset the red-hot Samsonova 7-6(1), 4-6 and 6-2 in a round of 32 women’s singles match that lasted two hours, 38 minutes at the new seaside Barnes Tennis Center.
The 23-year-old Samsonova, ranked 23rd in the world and a winner of three WTA titles in the last two months was one of the featured attractions for the tournament, but she had her hands full with the 57th-ranked Andreescu who showed why she was a tour dynamo in 2019 before injuries slowed her down.
Both players had seven double faults and matched up evenly in most statistical categories, but Andreescu had an extra gear in the third set and took over physically.
Andreescu advances to Wednesday’s round of 16, and her opponent will be determined on Tuesday when the remainder of the round of 32 matches are played, including a match between Leylah Fernandez of Montreal and eighth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia.
Rounding out opening day 🌅<a href=”https://twitter.com/Bandreescu_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Bandreescu_</a> takes on <a href=”https://twitter.com/LiudaSamsonova?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@LiudaSamsonova</a> for a second round spot!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SanDiegoOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SanDiegoOpen</a> <a href=”https://t.co/fcXcPpK3xq”>pic.twitter.com/fcXcPpK3xq</a>
In women’s doubles action on Tuesday, Carol Zhao of Vaughan, Ont., and Rebecca Marino of Vancouver will face Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Samsonova in the round of 16.
Also on Tuesday, the second-seeded combo of Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Giuliana Olmos of Mexico will face Sabrina Santamaria of Los Angeles and partner Kaitlyn Christian of Orange, Calif.
This year’s tournament marks the first return of the WTA to San Diego since 2015.