Bianca Andreescu began her Canadian Open title defence today with a victory against Harriet Dart. She defeated the Briton 6-1 3-6 6-3 to reach the third round in Montreal.
Andreescu is the Canadian Open reigning champion, having triumphed in front of a home crowd in 2019. She was able to hold on to her crown after last year’s tournament was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second seed will now be hoping to put a run of physical setbacks behind her and retain her Canadian Open title.
Who is Bianca Andreescu?
The 21-year-old Andreescu burst onto the scene in 2019, embarking on a rapid rise up the world rankings and triumphing at the US Open that year. She also won at Indian Wells and the Canadian Open.
Andreescu was tipped to achieve more Grand Slam victories, but she picked up a knee injury at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in October 2019 and was out for 15 months. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic also made competing difficult – Andreescu returned to the court for the Australian Open in January but her preparations were impacted by a positive coronavirus diagnosis.
Speaking at a pre-tournament press conference, Andreescu revealed she is looking to put her troubles behind her as she competes at the Canadian Open: “2019, I want to put that in the past. I was the up and comer. Now I’m seeded in tournaments. I have titles that I’ve won. I’m defending them now.”
Can Bianca Andreescu win the Canadian Open?
As second seed, Andreescu is considered one of the favourites to triumph again at the Canadian Open. She hopes to emerge victorious with new coach Sven Groenefeld by her side. Former Dutch tennis player Groenefeld has worked with a number of Grand Slam champions, including Monica Seles, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova.
Alongside a new coach, Andreescu will also be well-rested. She decided to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to pandemic-related challenges, and so last competed at Wimbledon in June. Some of her opponents, including top seed Aryna Sabalenka, may be tiring after an intense Olympic tennis tournament.
Who could prevent Bianca Andreescu from triumphing at the Canadian Open?
Belarus’s Sabalenka is the player most likely to prevent Andreescu from retaining her Canadian Open title. The top seed suffered a disappointing defeat in the second round of the Olympic Games, but reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in June.
Simona Halep is also one to watch. The Romanian has dropped from third to 13th in the world rankings after missing the French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics with a calf injury. She will be looking to get back to her best at a tournament she has already won twice.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, Czech players Karolína Plíšková and Petra Kvitová, and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus are among the other names battling for the title.