Defending champion Bianca Andreescu withdraws from US Open



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Defending champion Bianca Andreescu withdraws from US Open

For the first time since 2003, both US Open champions will skip the next year's edition of the Major event in New York. After Rafael Nadal, Bianca Andreescu has decided to withdraw too, not ready to play competitive matches at her 100%.

The 20-year-old hasn't played so far in 2020, experiencing a terrible knee injury at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen last November and still not reaching her best. After such a long break, Bianca didn't want to rush anything and travel to New York, not being able to carry on with her preparations as she planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ranked 208th, an 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu lost in the opening qualifying round at the US Open to Olga Danilovic two years ago. Twelve months later, the Canadian arrived in New York as one of the title favorites, conquering Indian Wells and Toronto earlier in 2019 and leaving a nasty shoulder injury behind her to deliver her best tennis and write tennis history.

Competing in her first US Open main draw as world no. 15, Bianca toppled seven rivals to embrace Grand Slam glory and become the first Canadian Grand Slam champion, defeating the six-time winner Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 39 minutes.

Andreescu became the first player to claim the US Open title on debut and the first since Monica Seles at Roland Garros 1990 with the Major title in only the fourth try. Reaching the final as the first teenager in New York since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009, Bianca went a step further to lift the trophy, adding her name to Maria Sharapova who was the last teenage Major champion here at the US Open 13 years ago.

Serena played on a very high level in the first six matches, but there was only a glimpse of that in the second part of the second set against Bianca after she saved a match point.

Like Rafael Nadal, Bianca Andreescu will not defend the US Open crown.

The American hit a lot of winners but also too many unforced errors versus the opponent who barely put a foot wrong in the first 75 minutes, delivering her eighth top-10 win of the season in as many matches and barely showing signs of nerves in the most significant encounter of career so far.

The American served at 45% and was never comfortable behind the initial shot, losing more than half of the points there and suffering six breaks from 12 opportunities offered to Andreescu. A teenager could have closed the duel much earlier, losing ground after that match point she squandered but finding the energy to cross the finish line with a late break and join the immortals at such a young age.

"After many discussions with those closest to me, I have made the difficult decision not to return to New York this year. I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level.

The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.

I want to express my appreciation to the USTA and the WTA for all of their efforts in making the event happen. I look forward to joining my competitors back on court soon," Bianca Andreescu said.