The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

NBO Daily: Serena, Leylah shine on the court; Bianca rules the grounds

August 8, 2022
Bianca Andreescu signs autographs.

Photo : Gyles Dias/Tennis Canad.

It’s finally here. After three years of waiting, the best players in the women’s game were back in Toronto and they put on a show on Monday.

The field on day one had a combined 39 Grand Slam singles titles between them and those champions treated the lucky fans on site to a great day of fun and tennis.

Results

The big names started strong on Centre Court, with both Simona Halep and Serena Williams advancing in straight sets. Halep needs just over an hour to reach the second round, while Williams picked up her first hard-court win since the 2021 Australian Open.

Halep and Williams are the only two players in the singles draw to have won multiple titles in Canada.

In the first match of the night session, home favourite Leylah Annie Fernandez lit up Sobeys Stadium, winning in her return to the tour after missing two months with a stress fracture in her foot suffered at the French Open. The Canadian No. 1 hung tough to defeat qualifier Storm Sanders in three sets.

Two other major champions were victorious early on day one.

Last month’s Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina survived a hard-fought battle with qualifier Marie Bouzkova. The Wimbledon champion needed exactly three hours to put away the 2019 semifinalist 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-1.

Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, had a much easier time with Anhelina Kalinina, beating the Ukrainian in straight sets. Beatriz Haddad Maia beat this year’s Roland Garros semifinalsit Martina Trevisan in three sets.

One Grand Slam winner who was not successful was last year’s French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who was beaten by the 2021 National Bank Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.

In the final match of the day, which started around 11:40 pm, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, age 42, was beaten in what might have been her final match in Toronto by Jil Teichmann in straight sets. The match brought day one of the 2022 National Bank Open to an end around 1:00 eastern time Tuesday morning.

Rain began to wreak havoc in the afternoon, with only sporadic play taking place between as the day session sputtered to its conclusion.

Play did not begin again in earnest until around 7:30 pm, at which point Asia Muhammad, Alize Cornet, and Sloane Stephens wrapped up victories.

The other Canadian in action on Monday, wildcard Katherine Sebov, lost a three-set thriller 7-5 in the third set against Yulia Putintseva.

Late out on the National Bank Grandstand, Alison Riske-Amritraj defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in three sets.

Fan Experience

She may not have featured in a match, but Bianca Andreescu was omnipresent on Monday at the National Bank Open.

The 2019 Toronto champion had an autograph session and then stopped by the Rogers Kids Court.

She took the time to chat with fans.

And she’s not done! Later on Monday she has a book signing and then will be part of the opening ceremony on Centre Court prior to the night session.

Viral Moment on Social

Olympian Ohanian, Serena Williams’ daughter, is approaching her fifth birth. As is common for small children of tennis players, young Olympia has not attended many of her parent’s matches so far in her short life.

However, Olympia was present for mom’s first-round match in Toronto.

Post-match, Williams revealed that she was not expecting to see her daughter in her box during the match. “I was like ‘why is she here?’” Williams said. “I went mom mode. Does she have on her sun cream?”

But she was certainly happy to see Olympia after leaving the court.

Kids can be a lot of work. Just ask Tatjana Maria.         

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