The continuing decline of Bianca Andreescu

Today at the WTA500 Eastbourne event, Canadian Bianca Andreescu (7.5/10) was defeated in straight sets by Estonian hottie Anett Kontaveit (8.5/10) in one of the tit-vs-tit matchups that Thok Mak likes so much.
The third-seeded Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., lost 6-3, 6-3 to Anett Kontaveit of Estonia at the WTA Tour 500 grass-court event.

It marked the third loss for Andreescu in her past four matches.

The world No. 7 won just 50 per cent of points when she got her first serve in against the 27th-ranked Kontaveit at the Wimbledon tune-up event.

The Canadian saved two of eight break points.
In Andreescu's defense, this tournament (like the WTA250 Birmingham event we covered last week) is played on grass, and she's not very experienced in it. In fact, these two British grass events are typically considered warmups for the real British grass event coming up. So in theory this could be a learning exercise for Andreescu: treat it like a preseason MLB game where teams don't care at all about the win-loss record and instead use the opportunity to try new lineup combinations, pitchers, pitches, baserunning strategies, switch hitting, while also evaluating potential future talent.

On the other hand, Kontaveit is going to the quarter finals of a WTA500 tournament, and Andreescu isn't. So Anett is going to get more exposure to playing on grass and since she's already far more experienced, the gap will increase. In Birmingham Andreescu got to the second round only on a bye before losing to Alizé Cornet (8.5/10) after roughly two hours of grass play time. She did win a tit-vs-tit match in Eastbourne against Christina McHale (8/10) yesterday, but that will be overshadowed by her difficulties against Kontaveit: while she played Cornet to a 7-6(2),7-5 straight set loss today's match saw her dominate very early only to unravel until a rally midway through the second set, by which point it was too late.

And I mean literally unravel, at one point late in the first set during an attempted return she suffered a wardrobe malfunction when her visor strap came undone and the ball sailed past her comically as the fabric fell over her face.

Rumour has it that Andreescu's recent coaching change was a firing caused by Bruneau expecting her to show up to practice. Seeing how undisciplined she was when the grass play didn't go her way, that can't help but be a bad omen. After taking the Wuhan Flu year off, and having some early successes, as the year goes on Andreescu seems to be slowly unraveling...again, sometimes literally.

In other Eastbourne action (playing catchup after a washout on Monday), an ugly-on-ugly match saw Anastasija Sevastova (5.5/10) defeat Cori Gauff (5.5/10) in three sets while on the flip side Elena Rybakina (7.5/10, recently upgraded from 7/10) in a tiebreaker second set defeated Elina Svitolina (9/10). Another battle saw the two different types of Swiss girls facing off: yodelling fantasy girl Belinda Bencic (8/10) lost 6-4 two sets in a row against Shania's maid-level homeliness of Viktorija Golubic (5.5/10). In another quirky match, J-O battled against O-J: Ons Jabeur (5/10) took the first set 7-5 only to lose the next two to Jelena Ostapenko (8/10).

In a curious looking match, meaty and bulky Aryna Sabalenka (6.5/10) cruised to a 6-1 first set win against wispy and lanky American Alison Riske (7/10). Would you believe that Sabalenka got ten -- ten!!!! -- aces versus Riske's zero?

The hottest actual American in the WTA Shelby Rogers (9/10) lost to possibly the hottest active WTA player (and definitely the hottest player participating in the Eastbourne event) in Camila Giorgi (9.5/10) in another example of "why oh why did they play each other so early when I don't get to watch it" early round matchups. The next hottest player was probably Veronika Kudermetova (9/10) who lost to Riske on Tuesday, so while a couple-three "pretty good" players are still in the running Giorgi (who plays Sabalenka tomorrow) is the one to watch.

Technically Anisimova is also American, but we know she really isn't, in the same way that Ben Johnson wasn't really a Canadian and Osaka isn't really Japanese.

The quarter finals, as noted, begin tomorrow. There are no hottie-on-hottie matches, so it's conceivable that the uglies will all be eliminated to make the semis worth watching: the matches all start at 4am tomorrow so we'll know what's up by the time our coffee machine timers kick in.