For the first time since March, Bianca Andreescu has lost a tennis match.
In a blockbuster between the past two US Open champions, it was Osaka, the world No. 4 and 21-year-old from Japan, besting the 19-year-old Canadian 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in Beijing.
“It meant a lot because I feel like people counted me out after the Europe thing,” Osaka said, referencing how she performed on clay and grass this year, losing in the third round of the French Open and in the first round at Wimbledon and not reaching a final.
“I’m just like, I still won a slam this year, I won (in Osaka). I’m still here. But there’s a sort of beauty to be underrated.”
It ends the 17-match unbeaten streak of Andreescu, who last lost in the fourth round in Miami in March. It’s also the first loss for Andreescu, ranked sixth, against a player in the top 10. Before Friday, Andreescu was 8-0, with all of those wins coming this year.
“I forgot how it felt, and honestly it sucks,” Andreescu, in her first tournament since defeating Serena Williams to win the US Open in September, said of losing. “I didn’t miss it. But at least I didn’t get whooped 1 and 1. I put on a fight. Honestly, it could have went either way. It was just some points here and there. At the same time I am pissed, but at the same time I’m proud of myself with how I played today.”
On Friday, Osaka fought back from being a set and a break down against Andreescu. The Japanese-Haitian sealed the win on her third match point, with an ace. She finished with 31 winners to 30 unforced errors and had 10 aces.
“I was really nervous on the first couple (of match points), and I just tried to breathe,” Osaka said. “I know that she’s such an amazing player.”
After failing to defend her title at the US Open last month, Osaka has rebounded in Asia. She has won eight matches in a row, including winning her fourth career title, coming in the city of Osaka.
This is Osaka’s second straight year reaching the semifinals in Beijing. The two-time major champion next will face the defending Beijing champion, Caroline Wozniacki, who defeated Daria Kasatkina earlier Friday. The other semifinal is world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty against eighth-ranked Kiki Bertens.
Friday was the first meeting between Osaka and Andreescu. And if this is the first installment of a rivalry for years to come between them, tennis fans could be in for a real treat.
“We’re gonna have many matches like this,” Andreescu said. “Our game styles are pretty different, but they level up pretty equally.”
Osaka joked: “Listen, I don’t want to play her any more, I’m good, one-and-done.”
But she acknowledged there will likely be more encounters with the Canadian.
“It’s bound to happen again,” Osaka said.