Photo : Martin Sidorjak
by Jonathan Yue
Bianca Andreescu made her return to the French Open on Tuesday with a big win over world No. 18 Victoria Azarenka.
Starting the match just before 8 p.m. in Paris, it was a matchup between two hard hitters. In their first match against each other, Andreescu and Azarenka went shot-for-shot inside Court Simonne-Mathieu, but in the end it was the Canadian Andreescu coming out on top with a statement win 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Showcasing her confident groundstrokes, the Mississauga-native brought her A-game to start the match, quickly collecting eight forehand winners before the halfway point of the set. But Azarenka made sure to remind everyone why she is a former world No. 1, pushing back to break Andreescu’s serve and taking a 3-2 lead on route winning the final four games of the first set.
After losing serve to start the second set and trailing 1-3, the 22-year-old Andreescu battled back with a break of her own, showing urgency to get back into the match. Azarenka quickly responded with her second break of the set, before Andreescu dug deep to extend the match to a third set.
Sticking to her game plan and trusting her shots, the Canadian went on to break the Belarusian two more times before to winning the final five games to take the second set 6-3 in 52 minutes.
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With the momentum on her side heading into the third set, the Canadian stayed on offense, battling to take an early break from Azarenka. From there, the 2019 U.S Open champion was in full control, denying Azarenka on four break point opportunities to prevent her from getting back on equal footing.
Facing three match points, Azarenka gave one more push against Andreescu, but the Canadian was up for the challenge, completing the comeback victory on her fifth match point in two hours and 30 minutes.
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The victory marked Andreescu’s third win on the clay courts at Roland-Garros, reaching the second round for the third time in her career (having reached round two in 2019 and 2022).