The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

PRESSURE TO DEFEND

August 7, 2021

Jean-Guy Fugère

Led by World No.3 and Wimbledon semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, the best of the WTA will congregate at IGA Stadium in Montréal to kick off the women’s edition of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.

But the favourite isn’t the only ace with her eyes on the grand prize. As the no.2 seed, Bianca Andreescu—reigning champion and dazzling winner of the 2019 US Open—also sits in a highly coveted spot at the WTA 1000 tournament. 

After a few months off to heal her recurrent injuries and recover from COVID-19, the Canadian is now laser focused on racking up wins to maintain and improve her No.5 ranking. In the coming weeks, she will have to quickly recapture the magic of the tennis she was playing two years ago to defend nearly 4,000 points.

Six members of the Top 10 are in mix, and the leading eight have a first-round bye.

Photo : Pascal Ratthé / Tennis Canada

If Andreescu wants to make it to the winner’s circle, she may have to go toe-to-toe with Laval-native Leylah Fernandez, who faces a qualifier in the opening round. If things go according to plan, Bianca may run straight into Simona Halep, a two-time champion in Montréal. Currently ranked World No.6, the Romanian star is feeling great and has no intention of letting anyone stand in her way.

Logically, the quarters will pit Sabalenka against her countrywoman Victoria Azarenka, Garbine Muguruza of Spain against Karolina Pliskova of Czechia and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine against Petra Kvitova of Czechia.

Two other Canadians join Andreescu and Fernandez in the main draw. Rebecca Marino faces a tough opponent in Madison Keys of the US, and Carol Zhao takes on Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.

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