Andreescu withdraws from Strasbourg with abdominal discomfort after second-round win

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STRASBOURG, France — Canada's Bianca Andreescu pulled out of the Strasbourg Open on Tuesday after suffering an abdominal injury in her second-round win over Belgian qualifier Maryna Zanevska.

Andreescu, who completed the 6-1, 6-4 win in 65 minutes, said she felt some minor pain in her side during the second set. She called it "a little discomfort," adding she didn't want to risk making it worse ahead of the upcoming French Open.

"I don't think it's anything serious," Andreescu said in a post-match video call with reporters. "But like in the past I pushed through a lot of injuries and I just (made) them worse.

"I want to learn from those mistakes. That's why I don't want to push it before a Grand Slam."

Andreescu, the world No. 7 from Mississauga, Ont., posted two straight-set victories at the WTA 250-level tournament in her return after a seven-week absence. The clay-court event serves as a tune-up for the second Grand Slam of the tennis season.

"I executed everything exactly how I wanted to with my serve, with my return, with my heavy shots on the clay, my movement, all of that," she said.

"So I'm really happy with these two matches before the French."

Andreescu suffered a foot injury in the final of the Miami Open last month and then tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Spain for the start of the clay-court season.

She did not play a competitive match for 15 months after tearing the meniscus in her left knee at the WTA Finals in October 2019. The injury hampered Andreescu in early 2020 and she declined to return when the WTA Tour resumed last year after play was paused due to the pandemic.

The 2019 U.S. Open champion improved to 11-3 in 2021.

Andreescu could not pinpoint exactly when she first experienced discomfort Tuesday, just that she first felt it after a serve.

She didn't want to wait and see how she felt Wednesday before making the decision to withdraw.

"I've done that in the past and it just never goes my way," she said.

The French Open is a clay-court event — a surface in which Andreescu has little experience at the top level. Tuesday's victory was just Andreescu's third on clay at the WTA/Grand Slam levels.

"It's nice to be back first of all, to be playing on clay," she said. "A lot of the preparation before this has been really great. I think I portrayed that in my matches.

"Hopefully I can take this momentum into the next tournament and keep getting some wins."

The top player in the draw besides the top-seeded Andreescu, meanwhile, was eliminated Tuesday.

No. 2 seed Jessica Pegula of the U.S. dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision to Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press