Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Julia Goerges of Germany and runner-up Bianca Andreescu of Canada, right, pose with their trophies after their singles final at the ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday.Chris Symes/The Associated Press

Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu’s fairy tale run at the Auckland Classic came within four points of capturing her first WTA title on Sunday.

But a lower back problem, which forced her to take an injury timeout, and a strong recovery by defending champion Julia Goerges, who rallied from the brink of defeat, resulted in a heart-breaking 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss for the young woman from Mississauga.

Goerges, the No. 2 seed from Germany, secured victory on her third championship point when her exhausted opponent netted a backhand after an hour and 45 minutes on court.

Qualifier Andreescu, ranked No. 152 in the world before the tournament began, had beaten former world No. 1s Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the final, but simply ran out of steam as Goerges battled back.

Andreescu won the first set and led 5-4 in the second set – leaving her only four points from title – before Goerges began her comeback.

The match started well for Andreescu, who took the first set in only 30 minutes, unsettling Goerges with the same aggressive return game and mix of strokes which had derailed her earlier opponents. But the tide changed late in the second set as Goerges began to put more first serves in play and gain more depth with her ground strokes, forcing Andreescu onto the defensive.

“It is disappointing, I was one game away from winning the match, so I’ll probably be thinking about this for the next couple of days,” said Andreescu, who earned entry into the tournament as a qualifier. “But I can’t complain. I had an amazing week, I beat a lot of top players. I’m just really proud of myself.”

Goerges clinched the second set in 45 minutes with a pivotal break in the 11th game, then took the deciding third set in only 23 minutes as Andreescu tired in her eighth match at the tournament. She broke Andreescu in the first, fifth and seventh games to clinch her seventh WTA Tour singles title.

“This meant a lot,” Goerges said. “I don’t know what to say right now because Bianca gave me a hard time today. She played some terrific tennis, different from a lot of players on the tour and I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot more of her.”

Andreescu had to go through qualifying just to get in, put together some spectacular upsets on her way to the final in the tune-up event for the Australian Open.

Prior to falling to world No. 14 Goerges, she knocked out former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and American Venus Williams, then cruised past 28th-ranked Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan in the semi-finals. Wozniacki is currently the world No. 3 and the reigning Australian Open champion.

“It feels really good, I’m not going to lie,” Andreescu said. “But I’m just trying to stay grounded right now, stay humble, and use it to my advantage.”

Goerges ousted Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., earlier in the week on her way back to the championship match. Andreescu, meanwhile, won seven straight matches including three qualifiers just to face the 30-year-old German in the final.

Earlier in the day, Bouchard captured her first career doubles title alongside American partner Sofia Kenin.

The duo beat Taylor Townsend and Paige Mary Hourigan 1-6, 6-1, 10-7 in the women’s championship match.

The US$250,000 WTA Tour event is a warmup for the first Grand Slam of the season.

With reports from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe