Canada's Andreescu victorious in French Open first round after lengthy layoff

PARIS — Bianca Andreescu was victorious in her return from an injury layoff of nearly 10 months with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in first-round action Monday at the French Open.

The 23-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., showed some rust in letting a 4-2 lead in the first set slip away before recovering. Andreescu and Sorribes Tormo traded breaks for four straight games before Andreescu held to prevent a tiebreaker.

She elevated her game in a dominant second set and wrapped up the win in 94 minutes. Andreescu had three of her seven breaks in the second set, including one in the final game.

"I know there were some points in the match where I was a little bit off," Andreescu said. "(Sorribes Tormo) plays unconventionally. She likes to loop it, but it's effective."

Andreescu, who hadn't played since sustaining a back injury at the National Bank Open in Montreal last August, will face No. 23 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia in the second round on Thursday.

"I am putting in the work," Andreescu said of her comeback. "(After) frickin' four months, I would hope that I'd see some improvement on the court.

"I'm happy. I don't want to focus on anything negative."

The former world No. 4 and 2019 U.S. Open champion is looking to advance past the third round at Roland-Garros for the first time in her career.

"I feel that today really showed all the work that I've been putting in practice," Andreescu said. I feel it was a great first round. I feel that I have some rhythm going into the second round."

Andreescu's result was part of a successful day for Canadians at the clay-court Grand Slam with Felix Auger-Aliassime, Leylah Fernandez and Denis Shapovalov, all posting comfortable wins.

Montreal's Auger-Aliassime was a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 winner over Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka, while Fernandez, from Laval, Que., downed Jessika Ponchet of France 6-2, 6-0.

Auger-Aliassime fired seven aces and won 84 per cent of his first serves in a match marred by two rain delays.

Fernandez, meanwhile, opened with her first of five breaks in a match that took just 69 minutes to complete.

Neither Auger-Aliassime nor Fernandez faced break point.

Auger-Aliassime, seeded 21st in Paris, will next face German qualifier Henn Squire.

The 31st-seeded Fernandez will next play China's Wang Xiyu.

Later Monday, Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., beat Luca Van Assche of France 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, completing a clean sweep for Canada, as not one Canadian player dropped a set in four matches.

Shapovalov will next play 25th-seeded Frances Tiafoe of the United States.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2024.

The Canadian Press