January 6, 2019 / 9:06 AM / 16 days ago

Tennis: Goerges rallies past teen Andreescu to retain Auckland title

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Defending champion Julia Goerges rallied from the brink of defeat to end Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu’s fairytale run at the Auckland Classic on Sunday.

The 30-year-old German clinched a 2-6 7-5 6-1 victory on her third championship point when her exhausted opponent netted a backhand after an hour and 45 minutes on court.

Qualifier Andreescu, ranked 152 in the world, had beaten former world number ones Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the final, but simply ran out of steam as Goerges battled back after falling a set behind.

“Bianca gave me a hard time today and I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot more about her,” the world number 14 said after winning seventh career title. “I used my experience today and really went for it in the important moments.”

Andreescu returned brilliantly to take the opener and led 5-4 in the second set despite struggling with a lower back problem that forced her to take an injury timeout.

“My body is honestly a mess,” the 18-year-old said.

“At 5-4 in the second set, it was really hard for me to stay in the moment, I was like ‘I’m one game away from winning the tournament’, but Julia dominated at that point and started going for her shots.”

Earlier on Sunday, Roberto Bautista-Agut joined fellow Qatar Open finalist Tomas Berdych in withdrawing from this week’s men’s tournament in Auckland.

The Spanish world number 24, who beat Czech Berdych 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the Doha final on Saturday, would have been unable to get to New Zealand for the Australian Open warm-up until Monday evening, organizers said.

Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by John O'Brien

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