January 15, 2019 12:47 pm
Updated: January 16, 2019 5:20 pm

Four Canadians advance to Australian Open’s second round

WATCH ABOVE: Eugenie Bouchard spoke on Tuesday about her upcoming second round against Serena Williams after her win against Peng Shuai at the 2019 Australian Open.

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Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu continued her stellar start to the 2019 season, advancing to the second round of the Australian Open after a lengthy, three-set victory over American wild card Whitney Osuigwe on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., needed two tiebreakers and nearly three hours to defeat the 16-year-old Osuigwe 7-6 (1), 6-7, 6-3 in her first career main-draw match at the Melbourne major.

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Andreescu was the third Canadian to reach the second round on the day, following Denis Shapovalov and Eugenie Bouchard, who both advanced with straight-sets victories over their respective opponents.

READ MORE: Andy Murray exits Australian Open in first round, could be his last match

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont. — Canada’s top-ranked singles player at No. 17 — faced Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and beat him 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a first-round match at Melbourne Park.

It was the seventh meeting between the pair and the first since 2016, and Raonic has now taken a 4-3 advantage. Raonic next plays former champion Stan Wawrinka, who advanced when his opponent Ernests Gulbis retired in the second set of their match with a back injury.

Bouchard downed wild card Peng Shuai of China 6-2, 6-1 in under an hour while Shapovalov beat Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

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Andreescu went through three qualifying rounds to earn a spot in the main draw of the tournament. She is coming off her first appearance in a WTA final at the ASB Classic in New Zealand two weeks ago.

Andreescu upset former World No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams before losing to No. 14 Julia Goerges in the championship match in Auckland. The stellar run saw Andreescu rise 45 spots in the WTA standings to sit at a career-high No. 107 entering the Australian Open.

In Tuesday’s match, Andreescu converted on 4-of-10 break points and had 40 winners to Osuigwe’s 20.

The Canadian ran into trouble in the second-set tiebreak, failing to earn a single point to give Osuigwe the momentum heading into the third and deciding set.

But Andreescu rebounded nicely, breaking her young opponent to go up 5-3 and holding serve to win it. The match lasted 2 hours 46 minutes.

Andreescu will play No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova in the second round.

Shapovalov, seeded 25th at the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, looked to be cruising into the second round before Andujar showed some life in the third set. Down 5-3, the Spaniard broke the 19-year-old Canadian for the first time all night, and the two held serve the rest of the way to set up the tiebreak.

Andujar saved one match point in the tiebreak but the Richmond Hill, Ont., left-hander responded with a forehand winner to seal the match.

Shapovalov, ranked No. 27 on the ATP standings, had 15 aces, 51 winners and won 84 per cent of his first-service points. The 82nd-ranked Andujar had just one ace and seven double faults.

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Bouchard came out firing in her earlier match, winning the first set in just 28 minutes. The match lasted 59 minutes total.

The 33-year-old Peng broke Bouchard’s serve down 3-0 in the second set, but the Westmount, Que., native broke right back when Peng sailed a backhand shot wide. Peng saved one match point on her serve but a backhand wide gave the Canadian another, and Bouchard clinched with a forehand to the open court.

The 24-year-old Bouchard, a former World No. 5, entered the Australian Open ranked No. 79.

The 2014 Wimbledon finalist, who also made the Australian Open and French Open semifinals in a breakthrough 2014, will be severely tested in her second-round match Thursday when she plays 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams.

Shapovalov will play No. 78 Taro Daniel of Japan in the second round.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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