Bianca Andreescu has never been past the second round at Roland Garros and yesterday she played her first match on red dirt in almost two years, but the Canadian is confident that she has what it takes to achieve outstanding results on clay.
On Monday at the Internationaux de Strasbourg, Andreescu secured her first win on clay in nearly two years with a confident 6-1 6-2 victory over Spanish qualifier Andrea Lazaro Garcia. Afterwards, the Canadian rated her performance as her Top 5 cleanest match from start to finish. Now her task is to rack up as many matches as possible and prepare for next week’s French Open.
The 20-year-old Andreescu is the US Open champion and has been ranked inside the Top 10 for a long time, but her Tour-level experience on clay is modest — her résumé includes just one main-draw match win at Roland Garros in 2019, two Fed Cup victories that same year and now this win in Strasbourg. Still, the Grand Slam in Paris is close to her heart because that was the first major she visited in her life and she believes that her game is a good match with the terre battue:
I think my game style really suits the clay, just because of the variety I have, and some of the heavy, high balls that I hit are obviously more effective on clay just because the ball bounces more.
And also my drop shots, if I hit it right, and it’s been showing in practice and practice matches and all that, so I’m super excited to bring that into the match court.
Due to a knee injury sustained at the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals in Shenzhen, Andreescu missed the start of 2020 before the pandemic further postponed her return. Playing just her third tournament back, Andreescu went all the way to the final of the Miami Open, but a right ankle injury stopped her from completing the match. Then she was supposed to play the Madrid Open, but a positive COVID-19 test prevented her from entering, and pandemic-related restrictions took her out of Rome as well.
In the second round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Tuesday, Andreescu will face another qualifier, Belgian world No.259 Maryna Zanevska.
Update: Right after defeating Maryna Zanevska 6-1 6-4 to make the Strasbourg quarterfinals, Andreescu withdrew from the tournament because of an abdominal tear. The Canadian assures us it’s nothing serious, but she doesn’t want to take any risks now that the French Open is just days away. (source: Roland Garros, photo: Jimmie48)