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After 15 months away from tennis, 2019 US Open Champion Bianca Andreescu returned to the court to secure a hard-fought win against Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round of the Australian Open.

Bianca Andreescu returned to the court today for the first time in over 15 months to get her Australian Open campaign off to a flying start with a gritty win against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. 

Besting her Romanian opponent 6-2 4-6 6-3, Andreescu showed no signs of rustiness to smash 27 winners past Buzarnescu to advance into the second round of the grand slam. 

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After the match, I sat down with my team a little bit, and I’m like, ‘Oh, guys, here we go again, those three-setters,’ and they just started laughing because they obviously knew what they were getting themselves into,” Andreescu said in her post-match interview.

But those matches are super good for me in my opinion because it really shows that I can scramble when I really need to, or if there’s some pressure I can dig my way through it somehow.” 

“When my back is against the wall, not only today but I’ve noticed throughout my last couple tournaments in 2019, I’ve been able to pull through with those.”

The Canadian last took to the court in October 2019 after a fantastic season, defeating three-time major champion Angelique Kerber to win at Indian Wells and then defeating 23-time major champion Serena Williams to win the US Open the same year. 

However, the world No.9’s superb season ended painfully, with Andreescu having to withdraw from the WTA Finals in Shenzhen after twisting her knee. And following a lengthy period on the sidelines, Andreescu announced last year she would not be returning to the circuit on the resumption of tennis. 

But Andreescu has returned with a bang and is looking to make her mark on the 2021 season.

I have high hopes for myself. I’m healthy first of all, and I know if I’m healthy I can get out there and compete at my best.

“I’ve put everything in the past in the past, and I’m ready to start a new chapter this year.”

Breaking her opponent twice in the first set, the 2019 US Open champion used her sweeping backhand to defend against Buznarescu’s powerful serve and crosscourt forehand shots. 

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The Canadian took the first set, but Buznarescu responded well to put pressure on Andreescu’s serve in the second set. 

Saving two break points at 2-2, Buznarescu turned the momentum back on the world no.9 to subsequently break Andreescu with a strong backhand to bring the scores level at one set apiece. 

Reminiscent of her 2019 Indian Wells comeback against Angelique Kerber, Andreescu once again dug deep late in the final set, to come back from going 0/40 down, save three breakpoint chances, and swing the pressure back on her opponent to break Buznarescu in the resulting game.

That was enough for Andreescu, who served out the final game and sealed the win and her return to the court with a huge smash shot.   

I remember during my match against Angelique Kerber in the finals, I had that same kind of roller coaster of a match, and I was down 40-Love on my serve. It was in the third set. Around the same score, too,” Andreescu said. 

I was just thinking about that, and how calm I was during that match, so I was telling myself, ‘Oh, stay calm, stay cool, just put your first serve in’ because I think my first serve today was very effective, which I did.”

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Bianca Andreescu will now take on Su-Wei Hsieh who defeated Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets 7-5 6-2 earlier today. 

“I feel pretty good considering my match today going up against her. I know it’s not going to be easy, though.”

“She’s a pretty crafty player, so I think that’s going to be a fun match.”

Featured Image: Bianca Andreescu by Carine06 // https://www.flickr.com/photos/43555660@N00/40092596742 // licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Download permissions

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