ITF $50K Saguenay: Bianca Vanessa Andreescu stuns defending champion Jovana Jaksic

Canadian teenager Bianca Vanessa Andreescu caused the upset of the tournament Tuesday evening at the Coupe Banque Nationale de Saguenay, stunning defending champion Jovana Jaksic 6-4, 6-2 to kick off her quest for her second ITF Pro Circuit title in as many tries, having just claimed her first professional title in Gatineau two months ago.

Andreescu Amazes in Opener

After trading blows early on, it was the former junior world number three who would strike first, taking the initiative to attack the Jaksic serve and putting the defending champion under pressure right from the start. After saving a break point in her second service game of the match, Andreescu would soon be rewarded with a pair of break points herself, taking the first of them to open an early 3-1 lead. Jaksic, however, momentarily rattled by the depth of Andreescu’s groundstrokes, soon settled herself to break straight back, before toughing out a crucial hold that restored parity at three-games-apiece.

With the momentum now back to where it first began, something needed to give in order to decide this first set, and unexpectedly, it was Jaksic who cracked under the pressure. After competing so well for the better part of the opening set, the sixth seed fell victim to a series of unforced errors, which would gift Andreescu the opener, 6-4, in just under three-quarters of an hour.

Bianca Vanessa Andreescu hits a backhand during her first round match at the 2016 Australian Open Junior Tennis Championships. | Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images
Bianca Vanessa Andreescu hits a backhand during her first round match at the 2016 Australian Open Junior Tennis Championships. | Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images

Andreescu Rises to the Challenge, Stuns Jaksic in Straights

In danger of surrendering her title defence at the very first hurdle, Jaksic began the second set in stark contrast to the majority of the first, breaking the Andreescu serve to begin her quest for a decider. However, all hopes of accomplishing that feat were soon washed away as the 16-year-old Ontarian promptly broke back at love, before claiming a second break just minutes later to go a set and 3-1 to the good.

That break, however, would soon result in a series of breaks in the second set as both players struggled to put away their respective service games on their own terms. This run of breaks would continue until the seventh game, where Andreescu was forced to reassert herself in order to stop the rot against the server. Showcasing her wonderful tactical all-court awareness, the former Canadian national junior champion showed just why she is often regarded as one of the brightest prospects of The Great White North, calmly holding her nerve to go within one game of victory.

With the finish line now in sight, Andreescu only seemed to raise her level even more as Jaksic just simply couldn’t find any answers to the Canadian’s pure, clean ball-striking. After coming within touching distance of a berth in the second round, it proved to be a case of third time lucky for the world number 412 as she sealed the victory with a stunning backhand return down the line, much to the delight of a very vocal home crowd.

Andreescu to Meet Albanese Next

Awaiting Andreescu in the second round is American Lauren Albanese, who overcame the tricky Pia Konig in her respective first round clash. The pair has only met once, with that lone meeting coming two months ago in Gatineau, where the Canadian teenager would go on to defeat the American en route to claiming her first ITF singles title.