Kerber switches tone after initial saltiness, congratulates Andreescu for win

The Canadian Press

MIAMI — And on the seventh day, Bianca Andreescu rested.

The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., bookended the craziest, most successful week of her young career with another win over world No. 4 Angelique Kerber of Germany.

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This one came late Saturday night — technically early Sunday morning — in the third round of the Miami Open. It was a rematch of the BNP Paribas Open final from a week earlier, when Andreescu won her first career Premier Mandatory-level tournament on the WTA Tour.

There were words of praise from Kerber after the Canadian's win at Indian Wells. But in Miami, there was some drama.

Both Andreescu and Kerber were trending on Twitter in Canada on Sunday morning. It was all because of a few choice words from the 31-year-old German as she approached the net after her loss. 

"You're the biggest drama queen ever," Kerber said.

Combine that with a runner-up "drive-by" handshake — the slightest, barest brush of the fingers and no eye contact at all — and you have the makings of a salty rematch when these two players meet again.

Shortly before lunch hour Sunday, Kerber issued a tweet in which she congratulated Andreescu "for a great performance and a well-deserved win."

If it wasn't a direct apology, it was at least a tacit admission that the match was won with the tennis, not because of any drama.

The Canadian briefly addressed the situation after the match to a small group of media members.

"Really? I have no idea. I don't even want to know," she said, acknowledging that she did realize something was said, and it wasn't the typical handshake. "For sure (I noticed). I just didn't say anything," Andreescu added.

MIAMI — And on the seventh day, Bianca Andreescu rested.The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., bookended the craziest, most successful week of her young career with another win over world No. 4 Angelique Kerber of Germany. (The Canadian Press)
MIAMI — And on the seventh day, Bianca Andreescu rested.The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., bookended the craziest, most successful week of her young career with another win over world No. 4 Angelique Kerber of Germany. (The Canadian Press)

The handshake itself wasn't all that unusual. But the choice words were quite rare. 

Kerber told German reporters that she wasn't at all pleased with the scheduling this week. After a first-round bye, the former world No. 1 and current No. 4 was relegated to the small, noisy Court 6 for her second-round match.

The late start on the stadium court Saturday night only exacerbated her annoyance. The match was scheduled for a "not before 9:30 p.m." start but a long day session and a three-set win by David Ferrer over No. 2 men's seed Alexander Zverev meant the match didn't start until 11:18 p.m. local time. 

Kerber had injury issues of her own to worry about, with a thick wrap around her left upper leg. Combine those elements with the notion of losing to a teenager twice within a week, and her post-match mood was grim.

At times Saturday, Kerber almost appeared to be giving the match away to her younger opponent. Down 6-4, 4-1, Kerber rallied just long enough to win the second set, although her movement appeared compromised at times.

"I did feel that a bit. So I kind of fed off of that," Andreescu said of Kerber's fluctuating intensity level. "I think I really deserve to be where I am right now, I've been working really hard, and hopefully I can keep it up."

It wasn't clear what Kerber was upset about in the Andreescu match.

The Canadian took a medical timeout after seven games to receive treatment on her right arm. The trainer returned on two other occasions to work on the arm and shoulder area.

Fellow Canadian player Felix Auger-Aliassime said Kerber's comment was "kind of a shame," but added that it's not unusual in sports.

"It's too bad (Kerber) made that comment. I don't think it was necessary. But then again, those things happen in sports. It's not that rare," he said. 

Andreescu's plan for Sunday was to catch up on sleep and get plenty of treatment for her various aches and pains. She'll play No. 21 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the fourth round on Monday.

The teenager has been making liberal use of ice towels and ice bags at the event. She has put one between her upper legs on virtually every changeover during the week — even Saturday night, with the temperature holding steady at 20 C and the sun not a factor.

Andreescu, the world No. 24, would need to reach the final to break into the top 20.

The highest seed left in her quarter of the draw is No. 13 Caroline Wozniacki after top-seeded Naomi Osaka suffered an upset loss Saturday.

Andreescu defeated Wozniacki en route to the Auckland final at the start of the season. 

Stephanie Myles, The Canadian Press

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