"Unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete...at my highest level," Bianca Andreescu had said last August when she withdrew from the 2020 US Open because of a knee injury.
She continued to rehab and not hurry back on tour until this February where her performances were dramatic and of high quality. The Phillip Island Trophy tournament in Australia she would make her comeback and made it through the semifinals against Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.
Andreescu had two match points in the deciding set but wasn't able to convert the winning points to produce a victory. There was a different scenario as she'd enter the Miami Open feeling more ready to play in a tournament that a few years ago she'd bail out with a shoulder injury.
The difficulties of the Pandemic and being sidelined with a horrific knee injury stopped her from entering events but the Canadian was ready to give it 100% on the court now in Miami.
Andreescu had a dominating force against all of her competitors in Miami
She battled with the teen no.
28, Amanda Anisimova winning two of the three tiebreak sets. Then there was Garbine Muguruza, a multi-slam winner whose strong gamesmanship may have proved fierce to others but not the Canadian. She was able to defuse the Spaniard's game resulting in a three-set victory.
After she won, the Canadian admitted to Tennis.com media about Muguruza's game saying "It was really tough. She started out playing really, really well...I had to readapt, which I did...I regrouped. I kept fighting."
Each round became more of a challenge for Andreescu and her first time meetup with another Spaniard, Sara Sorribes Tormo was almost more than the Canadian could handle. Sorribes Tormo was fresh off the Guadalajara title and played super aggressive.
"I've seen her play. I know she gets to a lot of balls. She has a very wavy, spinny ball. She's a crazy fighter," Andreescu laughingly said. But the laugh was on the Spaniard as Andreescu stayed consistent, mixed up her shots, and threw Sorribes Tormo's rhythm off to win the match in three sets.
The semifinal berth with Greece's Maria Sakkari pushed Andreescu into using her power and the greatest strategies to win over her tough Greek opponent struggling through two tiebreaks. "I know what I'm capable of, adn this doesn't surprise me because I know that I'm a really good fighter, " Andreescu said after landing in her first final in a long time.
The WTA no. 1 Ashleigh Barty was her opponent and their first career meeting. Andreescu knew her aggression, excellent strategies and endurance would have to prevail to score a win over Barty and capture the title. The Australian came on with dynamic shotmaking and won the opening set 6-3.
Andreescu did mix up shots but it was in the third game she'd twist her ankle and despite treatment was unable to go on. "It's brutal...I just feel for Bianca," the Australian sadly said. Bianca tearfully had to give the trophy up to Barty who was feeling emotional too and professed that "It's never the way you want to finish a tennis match."
Bianca Andreescu hugged Barty afterwards and luckily her rankings were improved by three levels. The Canadian now is ranked no. 6 in the world with having learned much skill and precision on handling all kinds of opponents. "I'm super grateful I got to the finals, one of my first tournaments in a while," Bianca said smilingly.
She will rehab her injured ankle making sure to come back stronger and more consistent. "It was a humbling experience," is all she could say after making it to the final but to later have to retire.