The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-off is XX after the first day of play at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) lost a hard-fought battle against Putintseva in the first match of the day, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6. Françoise Abanda tied things up for Canada, posting a win over Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-3, 6-4.

Andreescu fought back from down a set, but was ultimately unable to hold on against her opponent. Ranked world no. 31, Yulia Putintseva from Kasakhztan showed her experience in the first set, taking a late break from the young Canadian. Andreescu bounced back in the second, taking an early 3-0 lead, before Putintseva was able to equalize. The Canadian took advantage of her chances and managed to break her opponent again and eventually take the second. In the final set, play was tight between the two, with neither giving an inch. In the end, the more experience Putintseva was able to overcome her opponent, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a grueling match that lasted almost three hours.

“For sure losing was disappointing but I fought until the end and I think that I played really good tennis. Just being here was so amazing for me; being part of the team is such a privilege and I’m really grateful for that,” stated Andreescu after her match. “I think today I showed that I can be at her level [Putintseva] so I’m really happy with that.”

In the second match of the day, Françoise Abanda started strong. She took the first set in a little over half an hour, playing an aggressive style against a skilled opponent. Abanda relied on her strong service game, tallying six aces in the match. The second set was a little more difficult, with both players struggling to hold serve. The Canadian fired a crucial ace towards the end of the set, which eventually gave her a few set points. She managed to convert on her fourth try, eventually taking the match 6-3, 6-4.

“I am very pleased with my result today. It was an important match for Canada and I am glad that I was able to even out the score after day one,” said Abanda after her important victory. “My game plan was to stay concentrated and to execute on all my shots. Today was a good day for me.”

The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-off will continue on Sunday, with both winners from Saturday facing each other in the first match of the day. Abanda and Putintseva will be followed by a match disputed between the number two players from each team, Andreescu and Shvedova. The day will conclude with a final doubles match. A win over Kazakhstan will bring the Canadian squad back into World Group II in 2018, while a loss will relegate them back into the Americas Zone Group I.