Thursday, August 11, 2022 – Bianca Andreescu plays against Qinwen Zheng in round three of the 2022 National Bank Open presented by Rogers at Sobey’s Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Peter Power/Tennis Canada)
By Max Gao
China’s Zheng Qinwen continued her breakthrough season on the Hologic WTA Tour on Thursday evening, battling past former champion and hometown hero Bianca Andreescu, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, to advance to her first WTA 1000 quarterfinal at the 2022 National Bank Open presented by Rogers.
The 19-year-old, who began the season ranked No. 126 in the world but reached a career-high of No. 46 in June, will now face No. 14 seed Karolina Pliskova, who got the better of No. 3 seed Maria Sakkari in three sets on the National Bank Grandstand Court.
Having earned hard-fought wins over No. 11 seed Daria Kasatkina and Alizé Cornet to reach the round of 16 in Toronto, Andreescu was looking to ride the same wave of momentum in her third night session match in as many days and started strongly against Zheng, finding herself twice up a break in the opening set.
Zheng, however, managed to keep up with Andreescu, recovering the breaks on both occasions and using her heavy groundstrokes to keep the 2019 champion behind the baseline. The Chinese teenager soon bided her time, dominating on her own serve and earning a decisive break in the 12th game to move within a set of the last eight.
The second set was a very different affair with both players holding serve with minimal fuss until the 11th game, when Andreescu, buoyed by the support of her home crowd, broke when Zheng’s backhand sailed long. The Mississauga native held serve in the following game with ease, sending the match to a one-set shootout.
Andreescu and Zheng exchanged breaks midway through the decider before the Chinese rising star began to pull away, taking advantage of a lapse in concentration from the Canadian to break for a 4-2 lead. She soon consolidated her advantage and broke once more to wrap up the match in just under three hours.
No. 12 seed and 2015 champion Belinda Bencic needed just 63 minutes to dispatch No. 8 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, 6-1, 6-3. She will now face Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, who stunned World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in a three-set thriller earlier in the day on Centre Court.
A day after defeating Serena Williams in the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s final match on Canadian soil, Bencic raced out of the gates against Muguruza, breaking twice and winning 93% (13/14) of the points behind her first serve en route to taking the opener in less than half an hour.
After earning her next break in the seventh game of the second, the World No. 12 fended off two chances for Muguruza to get back on serve and broke one last time to end an eventful day in Toronto.