Bianca Andreescu is relishing an extended rivalry with Naomi Osaka after their first match went to three riveting sets in the China Open quarter-finals.
The 19-year-old Canadian was upbeat despite squandering a one-set lead, with Osaka reining in the US Open champion for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in Beijing.
The first instalment between two of tennis’s brightest young talents did not disappoint.
“I was really excited,” said the world No 6 Andreescu, whose ascent into the women’s elite has been breathtaking – she was ranked 240th this time last year.
“I think I was more focused than usual, it’s usually like that when I play top players. I think we’re going to have many matches like this. Our game styles are pretty different, but they level up pretty equally.”
Friday’s defeat brought an end to Andreescu’s run of 17 wins on the spin, but she said she felt she was playing better than when she stunned Serena Williams in the US Open final.
“I put on a fight. Honestly, it could have gone either way,” she said. “It was just some points here and there. I really fought, especially in that last game.”