The “up-and-coming player” also makes it to second round of U.S. Open Junior Championship
By Allen Payton
In the first round of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, local tennis standout, Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek, faced the eventual champion, Bianca Andreescu of Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, August 27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City. She lost the match 2-6, 4-6 but according to Andreescu played “really well”. (See video highlights of their match, here.)
Andreescu went on to beat six-time U.S. Open Women’s Singles Champion, Serena Williams in the finals on Saturday, Sept. 7 to win the tournament.
Volynets received a wild card into the women’s draw after winning the Billie Jean King USTA National Championships Girls’ 18s singles title earlier, last month. (See related Herald article)
On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Volynets was also able to advance to the second round of the US Open Junior Championships, after defeating Carole Monnet of France, 6-1, 6-3. She failed to advance in that tournament losing the match to No. 4 seed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia 6-4, 6-4, who faces American qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova of Florida, in the championship, later today, Sunday, Sept. 8.
In her match against Andreescu, which lasted 1 hour and 29 minutes, Volynets held her own on many, multiple volley points, forcing the ultimate champion to work hard, running back and forth across the court. Volynets was up 4-3 in the second set, but, Andreescu rallied to bring it to deuce point and then won the game, breaking Volynets’ serve and tying the set at 4-4. She went on to win the next two games against Volynets, securing her victory.
According to the Sporting News, Andreescu had to overcome “32 unforced errors – twice as many as the American Volynets – to win in straight sets.” Another Sporting News article claimed “it was hardly a walk in the park for Andreescu. The Canadian had to overcome some early jitters and sloppy play to claim victory in her first-ever match in the main draw at Flushing Meadows.”
“Committing 16 unforced errors in the opening set, Andreescu gave Volynets plenty of opportunity to stick around in the early goings of a match-up that pitted the 15th-seeded Canuck against the World No. 473 from Walnut Creek, Calif. Fortunately for Andreescu, Volynets’ inexperience shone through and the Mississauga, Ont., native was able to successfully convert three break points en route to a 6-2 first-set win that was more impressive on the scoreboard than the court.”
According to that same article, Andreescu “was visibly frustrated at times, especially with 17-year-old Volynets growing in confidence with each passing point. The young American matched her more fancied opponent for most of the second frame, with both women holding serve through the first eight games without giving up a single break point opportunity.”
In a post-match press conference, the 2019 champion had very positive things to say about Volynets.
“It’s my first round, first match of the tournament, so maybe I was a bit rusty at the beginning,” Andreescu said. “I’m also playing someone younger than me, so, that’s not the best scenario. I’m usually the young one. But, it’s nice to see these up-and-coming players play on big stages like this.”
Andreescu is 19 and Volynets, who started playing tennis when she was just five, is 17.
“Katie, my opponent, she was playing really well. She was getting to a lot of balls. She’s an incredible fighter,” Andreescu continued. “That’s what I told her after the match and I’m sure it’s going to get her places.”
“There were long rallies. I was a little bit nervous coming into the match, too. So, I think, maybe that kind of showed,” she said.
When asked by a reporter to “take a moment and talk more about” Katie, Andreescu responded, “I think she has a very bright future. If she works hard and keeps improving her game, I think she can be very dangerous to a lot of the players. She moves really well. She doesn’t show any negative emotion, which is very impressive. Yeah, I think she can do very big things.”
“Because she gets to so many balls, I wanted to hit the right ball at the right time,” she added about playing Volynets.
“Ever heard of a better tennis name?” a reporter asked.
“Oh, volley nets. Oh, yeah. I never even, like put two and two together. Yeah, that’s crazy, Andreescu responded with a laugh. “She has a very nice name. Very ironic.”