The first Canadian to win her country’s flagship event in 50 years when it was held in Toronto two summers ago, Andreescu opened her National Bank Omnium campaign with a 6-1, 3-6, 6- victory. 3 on Harriet Dart.
Three of Andreescu’s previous appearances at his country’s biggest event were in Toronto. Her only previous effort in Montreal was in 2016, when she was a 16-year-old qualifying wildcard ranked 610 in the world.
But she delighted the locals with a comeback victory in a game that lasted just over two hours, coming from a break in the decider by winning five of the last six games.
“I had all the feelings. It was super moving at the end. I got goosebumps walking on the pitch, ”Andreescu told reporters after the game.
“To have the crowd cheering for so long is just a crazy feeling. I am so happy that the tournament was able to be played.
“There will always be pressure, but I’m really using it to my advantage, especially here at home. Having that crowd support really helps me. Win or lose, I know they’re always going to back me up so that definitely takes a lot of pressure off. “
Britain’s qualifier Dart, the world No.15, had knocked out another home favorite to Leylah Fernandez in the first round, and had her eyes set on yet another upset as she rebounded from a one-sided opener to push her fourth career match against a Top 10 players for a final set.
“I think I started the game really well. Then there was a point where I tried something different for, like, two, three points. I think that was the key moment when it changed momentum and she started to play well. Said Andreescu.
“I think it was the 1-All game in the second set. She resumed her level. I thought I was still playing well at the time, but I think it was more mental towards the end. I’m just super happy that I was able to get out of here and get closer to the baseline, finishing the points in the net.
“She definitely started pulling more on her shots. She began to put more first serves in the field. She saw that I was attacking her second serve too much. I guess it changed something for her. “
However, the 25-year-old struggled to defend her serve as Andreescu recovered – she only managed 47% of her first serves in the game – and was broken five times.
That, along with the 35 Canadian racquet winners, helped the world No.8 move safely into the second round.
With Andreescu playing her first game in over a month, searing Danielle Collins extended her winning streak to 11.
Champion Palermo and San Jose lost the opening set to Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann but rallied for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 first-round victory to face the No.6 seed Simona Halep for the first time in seven years.
Unranked wildcard at the 2014 US Open as the NCAA National Collegiate Champion, Collins pushed Halep inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in a straight set loss, 6-7 (2), 6-1 , 6-2. The American turned down $ 35,000 in first-round prizes to maintain her amateur status and end her college career, and turned pro two years later.
Victoria Azarenka finished the day past midnight – you could argue that the former world number one kicked off Wednesday’s matchlist – with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sorana Cirstea.
After a rain delay of nearly two hours after Andreescu’s victory, Azarenka only needed 72 minutes to advance to the third round, reversing the pair’s result at Wimbledon last month.
“I didn’t know if I should say hello or good night,” joked the No. 8 seed on the field after the game. “I was getting ready to go home and they said the rain was going to stop. I couldn’t wait to go to bed, but had to wake up very soon. “
Azarenka, a two-time semi-finalist in Montreal, broke serve five times, saved all but one of the 10 break points she faced and had 19 wins in 11 unforced errors.