Canada’s Bianca Andreescu had a few words for the woman who ended her quest to defend her National Bank Open title on Thursday.
“I told her she better win now,” Andreescu said with a smile, describing her net-side conversation with Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.
The duo battled through two hotly contested sets Friday before Jabeur pulled away in the third for a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1 third-round victory.
It was a marathon match that stretched out over nearly four hours, with two rain delays, two medical time outs and 2 hours 39 minutes spent on the court.
Andreescu, the No. 2 seed, saved 5-of-11 break points across the match and Jabeur hit nine aces to secure her spot in the quarter-finals.
“I’m super disappointed in how I played,” said Andreescu, a 21-year-old native of Mississauga. “But at the same time, Ons played super well. And I tried to play my best with what I had today.”
Still, her frustration with the loss was palpable.
“I know I could have won this tournament again,” said the world No. 8. “I know that I’m going to bounce back.”
“There’s always something,” said Andreescu, who has battled a variety of injuries since winning the tournament, formerly known as the Rogers Cup, back in 2019. “I don’t know. I don’t understand.”
The boisterous crowd of about 5,000 erupted in applause with every point Andreescu scored, but a smaller contingent – many draped in Tunisian flags – eagerly voiced their support for Jabeur, too.
There was a “crazy battle” both on the court and in the stands, Jabeur said with a smile. She noted that the DJ even scrounged up some Tunisian music that made her laugh during a break between games.
“It felt like home,” she said.