MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – As we await the rematch of the Indian Wells final between new star Bianca Andreescu and No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber in the third round of the Miami Open, a little look at just how much her life has changed in less than a week.
Because it’s been … a pretty big adjustment.
After the 18-year-old Canadian dispatched Sofia Kenin 6-3, 6-3, in her second-round match Friday, there was a pretty massive bunch of people awaiting her upon her exit from the court.
Jumbo balls, selfies, Andreescu tried to sign as many things as she could.
But it was a big crowd.
From the outside, it looked pretty intimidating, to be honest.
“They were pretty aggressive” – Andreescu
“Because of that, a lot of what’s happening right now is starting to soak in,” Andreescu said, asked about the scene following her match.
She gets the big stadium for the second time in three matches Saturday night against Kerber. At least in theory.
Her first-round match against Irina-Camelia Begu, scheduled for the stadium, was rained out and played on an outside court the following day.
Facing Kerber – a three-time Grand Slam title winner – so soon after that epic effort in the desert Sunday will also be a big dose of reality.
But so far in this tournament, Andreescu has faced players she faced in the last few weeks – and has beaten then.
She played Begu in the first round of Indian Wells, and won after dropping the first set in a tiebreak. As the draw gods would have it, she got her again here. And she defeated her again, in three sets – saving match point and basically being down and out before she prevailed.
As for Kenin, Andreescu played her in her first career WTA Tour semifinal in Acapulco – the week before Indian Wells.
She lost that one – 7-5 in the third set, after definitely having her chances. But Andreescu turned that right around on Friday in a straight-sets win that featured, for whatever reason, a somewhat more subdued and less feisty Kenin.
It might not have helped that Kenin literally lives a stone’s throw from the stadium. And Andreescu was getting the bulk of the support.
Andreescu also looked a lot more settled in that second match than she did in the first round.
Physical trainer Tremblay proud
Everyone around Andreescu was on heavy rotation earlier in the week, as the Canadian media was all over the country’s latest athletic success.
Here is the fabulous Virginie Tremblay, the Tennis Canada physical trainer who was with Andreescu right at the start of the run. Tremblay was both trainer AND a coaching stand-in for regular coach Sylvain Bruneau in Auckland.
(The TV cameramen in Auckland took a particularly liking to her, let’s just put it that way).
Bruneau had flown directly to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open after spending Christmas with his young family. And so Tremblay even went out on court to offer a little advice.
Andreescu went from the qualifying to the final. And that’s where it all started.
Happy girl – and oblivious doggie
This adorable young lady was able to get through the crush and get her ball signed by Andreescu.
She was pretty happy.
And it can’t go unmentioned that Andreescu’s pooch, Coco, is on hand here in Miami.
Coco sat next to the seat occupied by Mom, Maria, during the Kenin match. And Coco was too occupied with a meaty-looking bone (well, meaty before Coco went to work on it) to worry about whether his young mistress was winning or losing.
“It’s the only way to keep her quiet,” Andreescu said of Coco, who is a tournament newbie attending only her second event.
Andreescu may move up one spot in the rankings with what she has already done in Miami. But there’s a 450-point gap between her and Daria Kasatkina, who is the next-ranked player and who is still alive in the tournament, too.
It would take a pretty massive result for her to break into the top 20 in Miami.
But as she has often said over the last 10 days, “Anything is possible.”