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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Bianca Andreescu won the final four games stopping Emma Raducanu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in a Miami Open blockbuster battle of US Open champion.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

MIAMI—A physical clash saw US Open champions push each other all over the Hard Rock Stadium court.

In the end, a tenacious Bianca Andreescu dug in to prevail then tossed in the towel repeatedly.

More: Swiatek Out of Miami Open

Minutes after Andreescu fought off Emma Raducanu in a gripping 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 Miami Open first-round victory, the 2019 U.S. Open champion showed her gratitude for fan support emptying her racquet bag of every tournament towel she had tossing towel after towel to appreciative fans.

In a battle of Big Apple champions, Andreescu reeled off the final four games before showering fans with the orange towels.

Even after giving it all on court, Andreescu still had more to give.

Though this was an opening round match, given both women are intent on getting back on the winning track—and fans showed vocal support of both champions—the match felt more intense than an opening-round win.

"I think she's playing great tennis. Honestly, it's super nice to see that because she hasn't been playing that much," Andreescu said of Raducanu. "Injuries, this and that. I can relate in a way. I mean, not at that scale, but... "I'm really happy that she's back at it and playing like this. If she continues playing like this, she can definitely get back into the top 10.

"What I did well was just sticking with it. I'm just going to use that word today because it could have went either way. I just held in the points, tried to be aggressive when I could. Yeah, I think my serve went well today. I hit seven aces, which is very rare for me, no double faults."

Raducanu played a tremendous second set earning nine break points while facing none herself. She finally broke through to convert her ninth break point then served out the set and seemingly had momentum entering the third.

Andreescu returned refreshed and never lost the lead in the last set.

"I didn't let my emotions get the best of me," Andreescu told Andrew Krasny afterward. "I stayed positive.  I was very energetic."

The victory pushes Andreescu's record to 7-6 and sets up yet another blockbuster battle vs. seventh-seeded Maria Sakkari.

"Definitely going to be a good match," Andreescu said. "We have had many tough matches hopefully we can put on a good show."

Raducanu, who arrived in Miami after a run to the Indian Wells round of 16, drops to 6-3.

World No. 31 Andreescu was firing deep drives at the outset charging out to a 4-1 lead. Raducanu got one break back before Andreescu snatched a one-set lead.

Intensity and tension escalated in the second set.

Moving fluidly, Raducanu was hitting her forehand more firmly in the second set and holding serve with more self-assurance.

Raducanu served 72 percent, won 20 of 25 points played on her serve, including all seven second-serve points, and did not face a break point in the set.

The eighth game was epic with Andreescu digging in to deny six break points in an exhilarating game that saw the Canadian crack a couple of aces to save break points before she swept aside a sixth break point with a forehand drive volley. Still, Raducanu was relentless, particularly returning on the deuce side where she smacked forehands into both corners.

On her seventh break point of the game, Raducanu finally broke through, breaking for 5-3 on an Andreescu error to end a from-here-to-eternity game.

"I just kept telling myself it's not over till it's over," Andreescu said. "Sometimes I tend to get maybe too ahead of myself, whatever you want to call it. So I just try to stay in the present moment and try not to drain my energy because that game was insane.

"I don't think I've ever played a game like that in my life. I think somebody told me it was like 22 minutes or something like that. I mean, she played really, really well."

Fans were moving around after a lengthy game, prompting Raducanu to pause and wait for the crow to subside before serving out the second set with control.

Both women left the court for a break before the final set. Andreescu applied early pressure in the fourth game. The 2021 US Open champion staved off three break points in all, holding to level the decider after four games.

Two games later, Andreescu tightened the screws exploiting Raducanu's first double fault for double break point. Playing off her front foot, Andreescu coaxed an error breaking for a 4-2 lead in the decider.

Of course it's not really a break until you back it up. Andreescu withstood an adventurous seventh game saving a break point to confirm for 5-2.

A backhand bolt down the line brought Andreescu to match point and when Raducanu flipped a final forehand out, the 2019 US Open champion was through a quality match that should infuse both women with confidence.  


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