PARIS — Bianca Andreescu says she’s healthy, but her game remains a concern after making an early exit at the French Open.
The Canadian star, who has endured a roller-coaster return to tennis in 2021, lost 6-7 (1), 7-6 (2), 9-7 to world No. 85 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia on Monday in a three-hour, 20-minute first-round match at the clay-court Grand Slam.
“I didn’t feel like I played good tennis today,” the No. 6 seed, from Mississauga, Ont., said. “But at the same time, she played really, really well. She threw me off a lot with her heavy, spinny shots and her variety.
“But at least thinking on the positive side I’m healthy, and I was able to fight as hard as I could.”
Zidansek is into the second round of the French Open for the first time after pulling off her first career victory over a top-10 opponent.
It was just Andreescu’s fourth match, and first loss, on clay in her career at the top level.
The 20-year-old Andreescu pulled out of last week’s Strasbourg warm-up event with abdominal discomfort after winning two matches.
Prior to that, the 2019 U.S. Open champion was off seven weeks. Andreescu suffered a foot injury in the final of the Miami Open in April and then tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Spain for the start of the clay-court season.
Andreescu did not play at all in 2020 after suffering a knee injury at the WTA Finals in 2019.
“It sucks right now for me and I can just learn from it,” Andreescu said. “Because that’s what life’s all about, you learn from your mistakes. I made a couple today, but that’s part of life.
“I just want to keep my head up, feel what I feel right now. I might cry a lot tonight, but tomorrow is a new day.”
Andreescu made 63 unforced errors, 17 more than her opponent.
“I think I prepared super, super well for this tournament. That’s why to me it’s very disappointing, because I thought I could go far,” Andreescu said.
Andreescu said she has signed up for grass-court tournaments in Berlin and Eastbourne, England, before Wimbledon later this summer.
“Hopefully the hard work that I did put in today and over the past couple of weeks will really show hopefully for the grass, for the hard-court season, all of that,” she said.
Zidansek, meanwhile, was thrilled with her performance.
“Obviously first top-10 win is a big one,” she said. “It shows me that I can play with players like that. I showed myself today that I can beat them.”
Zidansek will face American Madison Brengle in the second round.
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., the other Canadian in the women’s singles draw, won her first-round match on Sunday. She’ll face No. 23 seed Madison Keys of the U.S. in the second round.
Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, the lone Canadian in the men’s singles draw after Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov pulled out, plays his first-round match against Italy’s Andreas Seppi on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2021.
The Canadian Press