At the start of the year Bianca (Bibi) Andreescu burst on the scene when she won her very first career title – she went for a big one, winning the BNP Paribas Open. However, since floating on cloud nine five months ago, she was brought back to earth when a series of injuries kept sidelining her progress.
This was the first event Miss Andreescu was playing since withdrawing from the French Open with a shoulder injury.
The young Canadian has got that euphoric feeling back all over again. She won the title in Toronto and became the first Canadian to win their national event since a lady named Faye Urban in 1969. Still, winning the way she did is not how she would have wanted to do it. The final lasted just four games. Miss Andreescu was leading 3-1 when Serena Williams pulled the pin and retired from the final.
The 37-year-old was in tears as an upper back injury forced her to stop. Her back was hit with severe spasms and she was not able to continue. Miss Andreescu went over to Serena’s courtside bench and consoled her in a lovely moment of concern and sportsmanship. The American referred to her opponent as “an old soul” and mature beyond her 19 years.
“Are you OK? I watched you your whole career, you're a *&^#ing beast with injuries,” Miss. Andreescu said to her. “This sucks!”
Later she said: “I feel for Serena so much. I've been through so much the last year with injury, so I am so sorry she had to go out this way. Sometimes, you can't push your body and she couldn't today, and I wish her a fast recovery. It really hasn't sunk in yet.
“It's not easy for Serena, for sure, to pull out, especially to pull out in a final. I know how she feels because I've done that many times in my short career. But sometimes you just have to listen to your body.
“And, yeah, it's not the way I wanted to win, but a win is a win. So, I'm really, really happy.”
The American said the injury started during her semi-final match against Naomi Osaka and got worse as her “whole back just completely spasmed, and to a point where I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't really move”. This injury is just another stumbling block faced by her this year. She said, holding back tears: “I'm sorry I couldn't do it today. I tried but I just couldn't do it. It's been a tough year, but we'll keep going.”
While the Toronto final was over in the blink of an eye, the men’s final in Montreal went two full sets but was also done and dusted in next to no time. Rafa Nadal was near invincible as he overwhelmed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 in just 70 minutes. This was the Spaniard’s fifth title in Canada, his 35th ATP Maters 1000 and the 83rd title of his career.
The first game of the match was a tough one and the Russian was solid as they engaged in some long rallies and that seemed to set the tone of what was to come.
“For me personally, was important to start the match in a good shape,” Mr. Nadal said. “He came to that match playing so well, playing a lot of matches the last weeks. For me, it was a different story. I only played three matches on hard before this one, playing against a newcomer like him was important for me in the beginning of the match.
“I think I played a good first game, too. Is true that he had some breakpoints. I played well. I saved that game. After that I think I played a solid match, my best match of the week without a doubt.
“I did a lot of things well: changing directions, changing rhythms during the point. The slice worked well this afternoon. I played some high balls, then changed down the line. I think I played smart. Of course, I played smart because I had a good feeling on the ball.”
While Daniil was totally outplayed this time, in his first Masters 1000 final, he is a tremendous player and moves to a career high ranking of eight.