Germany’s Julia Goerges is the women’s singles champion at the ASB Classic tennis tournament for the second straight year.
The world No 14 has ended the stunning run of Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu with a come-from-behind 2-6 7-5 6-1 win in Sunday night’s final in Auckland.
The victory makes Goerges the first player to win back-to-back women’s title at the event since Greek player Eleni Daniilidou pulled off the feat in 2004.
Despite giving away 12 years and 138 ranking places to her opponent, Andreescu certainly didn’t appear intimidated by the magnitude of the match early on.
After holding serve in the first game, she set the tone for the first set by immediately breaking Goerges for a 2-0 lead.
That trend continued, and while usually the usually strong serving German was off in that department, the young Canadian was also mostly in the ascendancy when the ball was in play.
Andreescu being broken twice herself didn’t matter as she broke Goerges three more times to take the set in commanding fashion.
Mustering her superior experience, and perhaps looking to halt the momentum of her teenage opponent, Goerges opted for a bathroom break before the start of the second set.
The brief delay worked immediately, the 2018 champion breaking serve then holding twice to claim a 3-1 buffer.
Andreescu refused to go away, breaking back to get to 4-4, but Goerges had the bit between her teeth.
She won a crucial game to go up 6-5, before making no mistake on serve to ensure a third set would be needed.
After it got her back on level terms in the second set, Goerges’ experience further came to the fore in the decider.
She broke Andreescu for a 2-0 lead and, as her confidence continued to rise, repeated the dose to go up 4-1 and put one hand on the silverware.
Two games later and the title was Goerges’ once more, yet again giving her the ideal lead-in to the looming Australian Open.
While unable to finish her brilliant run with the trophy, Andreescu was still able to reflect on what had been a breakthrough tournament.
The teenager had never even reached a semifinal at an WTA event before this week, while she beat two stars of the women’s game, Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams, on her path to the final.