'Old soul' Andreescu makes a fan out of Serena after historic triumph
TORONTO — The title may have come in a disappointing fashion, but Bianca Andreescu says being the first Canadian to win the Rogers Cup in 50 years is a "dream come true."
Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., was up 3-1 in the first set of the tournament's final when American opponent Serena Williams called for a medical timeout. Less than a minute later, the chair umpire announced that Williams was retiring from the match, handing Andreescu her second WTA Premier title of the season.
"I'm speechless right now. I'm the first Canadian who got to the finals and has won this tournament since 1969," Andreescu told the Aviva Centre crowd on Sunday afternoon after being presented with the Rogers Cup trophy in an on-court ceremony. "This been a dream come true, really.
"This week has not been easy. I've had many many tough matches."
Faye Urban of Windsor, Ont., beat Vancouver's Vicki Berner in the 1969 final, when the tournament was still played on clay courts and called the Canadian Open.
The 19-year-old Andreescu has now won 17 consecutive matches, not counting when she has had to retire from matches due to injury herself.
Andreescu has victories over seven of the top 10 players in the world this season. Her world ranking will rise from 27th to 14th on Monday. Her previous high was 22nd.
She and golfer Brooke Henderson are early front runners for the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's athlete of the year and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award, The Canadian Press's female athlete of the year honour.
Henderson has won two LPGA events this season and has set the all-time Canadian record for wins by a professional golfer.
The Rogers Cup was Andreescu's first tournament after a right-shoulder injury sidelined her since the French Open in May.
"What I've been through the past two months has not been easy," said Andreescu when addressing fans. "I kept telling myself 'never give up.' I'm trying to look at my injury not as a setback but more of a challenge. I tried to embrace it as much as I can."
Andreescu had been on the court more than any other player at this year's Rogers Cup at 10 hours 54 minutes heading into Sunday's final. The tournament's final lasted only 16 minutes before Williams withdrew.
After the chair umpire announced Williams's retirement the former world No. 1 started to cry on her bench. Andreescu went over to comfort her, hugging her and telling Williams how much she admires the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
"I'm not a crier, but, thank you guys," said Williams as she choked back tears after accepting the second-place cheque. "I'm sorry I couldn't do it today. I tried but I just couldn't do it.
"But thanks to Jehovah for letting me even come out here today. Bianca, you're a great sportswoman."
Williams's retirement was the last in a strung of high-profile injuries at this year's Rogers Cup. Fourth-seeded Simona Halep withdrew from her quarterfinal matchup with Marie Bouzkova.
On the men's side, Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., retired after two sets against Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime in a much-anticipated all-Canadian matchup. Sixteenth-seeded Gael Monfils then withdrew before his semifinal against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.