ITF $50K Saguenay: Catherine Bellis outclasses Bianca Vanessa Andreescu for biggest-ever title

17-year-old and top seed Catherine Bellis proved just why she is often regarded as one of the United States’ brightest prospects, outclassing 16-year-old Canadian wildcard Bianca Vanessa Andreescu in straight sets to claim the biggest title of her career.

ITF $50K Saguenay: Catherine Bellis outclasses Bianca Vanessa Andreescu for biggest-ever title
Champion Catherine Bellis (left) and runner-up Bianca Vanessa Andreescu pose with their trophies after the final of the 2016 Coupe Banque Nationale de Saguenay. | Photo: Tennis Canada

In a battle of the teenagers for the Coupe Banque Nationale de Saguenay, it was the elder and higher-ranked of the two who prevailed; 17-year-old and top seed Catherine Bellis needing just 66 minutes to power past 16-year-old Canadian wildcard Bianca Vanessa Andreescu, 6-4, 6-2, for her biggest-ever title.

Brilliant Bellis Recovers from Slow Start, Takes Opener

In the biggest final of both of their careers, it was surprisingly Andreescu, the younger and less experienced of the two, who settled in the quickest, putting the pressure on Bellis right from the off as she raced out to an early 2-0 lead.

Bianca Vanessa Andreescu hits a backhand return against Catherine Bellis during the final of the 2016 Coupe Banque Nationale. | Photo: Tennis Canada
Bianca Vanessa Andreescu hits a backhand return against Catherine Bellis during the final of the 2016 Coupe Banque Nationale. | Photo: Tennis Canada
 

However, that would be the last time in the entire match that the Canadian would play with her nose in front as the American teenager quickly steadied the ship, promptly recovering the early break en route to reeling off four games in a row to get in the driver’s seat.

Andreescu did what she could to stop the bleeding and stay in touch with Bellis, but the top-seeded American’s dominance on serve proved to be a step too far for the Canadian to handle; Bellis powering to a one-set advantage after claiming the opener, 6-4.

Catherine Bellis hits a backhand return against Bianca Vanessa Andreescu during the final of the 2016 Coupe Banque Nationale. | Photo: Tennis Canada
Catherine Bellis hits a backhand return against Bianca Vanessa Andreescu during the final of the 2016 Coupe Banque Nationale. | Photo: Tennis Canada
 

Bellis Cruises to Victory to Claim Fifth, Biggest-Ever Title

With the momentum now firmly in her favour, it was Bellis who would get off to the better start in set number two, twice breaking the Andreescu serve before consolidating on both occasions to jump out to a commanding 4-0 lead. Andreescu, to her credit, refused to let the biggest final of her career slip away without a fight, showing great character to get on the board a game later after saving a break point in the process.

Despite missing out on a chance to serve for the match, Bellis showed great composure under pressure, hitting back-to-back aces en route to another commanding hold—this one putting her within one game of victory up a set and 5-1. Andreescu did what she could to put the pressure right back on the shoulders of her older counterpart, but it all proved to be in vain as Bellis sealed the biggest title of her career in tremendous style in just six minutes past the one-hour mark.

Catherine Bellis poses with the winner’s trophy after defeating Bianca Vanessa Andreescu in the final of the 2016 Coupe Banque Nationale de Saguenay. | Photo: Tennis Canada
Catherine Bellis poses with the winner’s trophy after defeating Bianca Vanessa Andreescu in the final of the 2016 Coupe Banque Nationale de Saguenay. | Photo: Tennis Canada
 

“I am so happy right now, this is the best day of my career so far,” Bellis told reporters after the match. “Bianca [Andreescu] had a great week, she played so well to get to the final and I am sure this won’t be the last time we’ll play each other.”