Canada's Bianca Andreescu plays a return to Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek during their first round match on day two of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena

Canadian Bianca Andreescu eliminated in first round of French Open

Canadian Bianca Andreescu eliminated in first round of French Open

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

Tennis

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