ADELAIDE (Reuters) – Bianca Andreescu roared back after being blanked early on by former world number one Garbine Muguruza to prevail 0-6 7-6(3) 6-1 in an absorbing battle that kicked off the Adelaide International 1 tournament on Sunday.
The clash between the former Grand Slam champions at the WTA 500 event looked set to be a one-sided affair as Andreescu found herself down a set and trailing 5-2 in the next, but the 2019 U.S. Open winner found her groove and mounted a comeback.
Dragging the second set into a tie-break, she established a 4-2 lead before drawing level in the contest against twice major winner Muguruza with a powerful ace. She then surged ahead 3-1 in the decider before closing out the win as Muguruza wilted.
“In the second set, I really had to change my gameplan. I told myself to go for it, whatever happens, happens,” Andreescu said. “I put more returns in the court and more serves in the court. I’m so glad I pulled that out, I have no idea how.”
Up next for the Canadian is fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova or Amanda Anisimova who will face off on Monday.
Estonian Kaia Kanepi also came through a tough battle as she beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 4-6 6-1 6-4.
GAUFF HEADLINES RETURNING AUCKLAND CLASSIC
Top-seeded American Coco Gauff begins her preparations for the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open with a first round match against Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria at the Auckland Classic on Tuesday, a day after the WTA 250 event returns to the tour.
The 2021 and 2022 editions of the tournament were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, after American great Serena Williams triumphed in 2020 for her last WTA title.
“We’ve never played before, but I used to hit with her when I was younger,” Gauff said about a potentially tricky clash with Maria after the draw on Sunday.
“Obviously, she had a great Wimbledon run. She was one of the first players I talked to when I was 15 and going on tour, my former coach was great friends with her husband, so I know her pretty well on a personal level.”
Four Grand Slam champions — Venus Williams, Sofia Kenin, Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens — are also in the mix.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru)