Bianca Andreescu and Denis Shapovalov flew the flag for Canada at the U.S. Open on Thursday by coming through their second-round matches on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Former champion Andreescu was down a break four times during her 6-4, 6-4 win over American Lauren Davis but never folded, firing 19 winners as she bids to recapture the magic of her successful 2019 Flushing Meadows campaign.
The 21-year-old sixth seed struggled with her first serve at times and committed three double faults in the second set but was able to convert on all three break point opportunities in the set to secure the win.
“This match wasn’t easy at all,” said Andreescu, as her Canadian fans cheered from the stands. “It was just a point here and there that really counted.”
Andreescu beat Serena Williams in the 2019 final playing in the main draw for the first time but missed the 2020 season due to injury and the challenges of playing in the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said winning a tough three-setter that lasted two hours and 49 minutes against Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the opening round on Tuesday had been a real confidence booster.
“A lot of it is mental,” Andreescu told reporters. “I haven’t played a lot of matches this year. A lot of practice sets and all that, but it’s not the same as actually playing in a tournament.”
She faces lucky loser Greet Minnen of Belgium in the third round.
World number 10 Shapovalov kept the party going for Flushing Meadows’ Canadian cohort, who donned red and white apparel with maple leaf accents, battling past Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-0.
Shapovalov fired 21 winners in the first set, though he struggled to contain the unforced errors (19).
After sealing the first set in a tiebreak, however, he wrapped up the match in swift fashion, seizing the momentum with a break in the fourth game of the second set.
A demoralized Carballes Baena, who had defeated the Canadian in the second round of Roland-Garros last year, failed to get going in the third set, as Shapovalov did not drop a single first- or second-serve point and got all of his returns in.
“I obviously definitely wanted to get my revenge,” said Shapovalov, who joked that he was “more focused on putting a serve on the court” than winning the tiebreak after committing six double faults in the first set.
“For me it’s so much fun and again to play in front of the fans. It’s something we missed,” he added.
He faces South Africa’s Lloyd Harris in the third round.
Meanwhile, Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil is out after a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5) loss to Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in second-round action on the men’s side.
Pospisil had 12 aces in the match and outscored Ivashka 35-23 on winners. But the Canadian was undone by mistakes, committing 46 unforced errors, compared to just 19 by Ivashka.
Pospisil was looking to build on his comeback win over Fabio Fognini in the first round. Pospisil was down two sets before rallying to eliminate the 28th-seeded Italian.
– With files from The Canadian Press