Andreescu Shakes Off Rust From Long Injury Absence, Advances To French Open 2nd Round | CBC Sports

Bianca Andreescu was victorious in her return from an injury layoff of nearly 10 months with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in first-round action Monday at the French Open.

The 23-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., showed some rust in letting a 4-2 lead in the first set slip away before recovering in Paris.

She elevated her game in a dominant second set and wrapped up the win in 94 minutes.

Andreescu, who hadn’t played since sustaining a back injury at the National Bank Open in Montreal last August, will face No. 23 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia in the second round on Thursday.

The former world No. 4 and 2019 U.S. Open champion is looking to advance past the third round at Roland-Garros for the first time in her career.

Andreescu’s result was part of a successful day for Canadians at the clay-court Grand Slam with Felix Auger-Aliassime, Leylah Fernandez and Denis Shapovalov, all posting comfortable wins.

WATCH | Andreescu wins in Paris, her 1st match in 9 months:

Bianca Andreescu makes a successful return from injury in Roland-Garros openerAfter nearly ten months away from the tennis court, due to a stress fracture in her back, Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., returned and beat Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5, 6-1 in the first round of the French Open.

Montreal’s Auger-Aliassime was a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 winner over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, while Fernandez, from Laval, Que., downed Jessika Ponchet of France 6-2, 6-0.

Auger-Aliassime fired seven aces and won 84 per cent of his first serves in a match marred by two rain delays.

Fernandez, meanwhile, opened with her first of five breaks in a match that took just 69 minutes to complete.

Neither Auger-Aliassime nor Fernandez faced break point.

Auger-Aliassime, seeded 21st in Paris, will next face German qualifier Henn Squire.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime overcomes 2 rain delays to take opener in Paris:

Felix Auger-Aliassime storms into the French Open 2nd roundIn a match that was paused multiple times due to rain delays, Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime beat the rain and his opponent Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round at Roland-Garros.

The 31st-seeded Fernandez will next play China’s Wang Xiyu.

Later Monday, Shapovalov, of Richmond Hill, Ont., beat Luca Van Assche of France 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, completing a clean sweep for Canada, as not one Canadian player dropped a set in four matches.

Shapovalov will next play 25th-seeded Frances Tiafoe of the United States.

WATCH | Leylah Fernandez defeats 1st-round opponent in straight sets:

Leylah Fernandez posts a 2nd-set shutout to advance to the 2nd round of the French OpenLeylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., routed Jessika Ponchet of France 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the second round at Roland-Garros.

Last French Open match for Nadal?The noise was loud and relentless, a chorus of thousands of belting out ” Ra-fa! Ra-fa! ” whenever their guy found the occasional moment of brilliance of the sort he has conjured up so often at the French Open and elsewhere through the years.

The 15,000 or so on hand roared their support when Rafael Nadal stepped out into Court Philippe Chatrier, voices echoing under the closed roof of a place he called “magical for me.” When the 14-time champion at Roland Garros approached the net for the pre-match coin toss. When he took his swings during the warmup. And, especially, when he whipped his trademark topspin lefty forehand or chopped his two-fisted cross-court backhand or placed a volley perfectly to claim a point.

The problem for Nadal, and for his fans, is that there were not nearly enough such points for him against Alexander Zverev. Not enough vintage play to allow his nearly 38-year-old, oft-injured body to claim one more victory, no matter how much the folks in the stands tried to will that to happen. And so he lost 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the first round of the French Open to Zverev in what might turn out to be Nadal’s last match at the clay-court tournament he dominated for so long.

“If it’s the last time that I played here,” Nadal said, “I am at peace with myself.”

WATCH | Nadal makes quick exit in potential last French Open appearance:

Nadal uncertain about his French Open future after 1st-round loss to ZverevAfter being eliminated in the opening round at the French Open, Spain’s Rafael Nadal addressed the Paris crowd about his future return to Roland-Garros and the Olympics.

It is the first time in his long and illustrious career that Nadal has been beaten in two consecutive matches on clay courts — he lost to Hubert Hurkacz at the Italian Open on May 11 — and the first time he has dropped a match earlier than the fourth round at the French Open.

“The last two years, I have been working and going through probably the toughest process in my tennis career with the dream to come back here. At least I did,” Nadal said. “I mean, I lost, but that’s part of the business.”

He had indicated 2024 likely would be his last season, but he said Saturday he is not absolutely certain he be at the French Open again. He reiterated that after only his fourth defeat in 116 career matches at the place.

“I am not saying I am retiring today,” said the Spaniard, whose 1 1/2-year-old son, Rafael Jr., sat on his mother’s lap in the stands.

While Nadal said it’s doubtful he’ll enter Wimbledon, which he won twice and starts on July 1, he did note he hopes to return to Roland Garros later that month, when the Olympics’ tennis competition will be at the French Open site.

Monday’s match ended in anticlimactic fashion, with the 22-time Grand Slam champion unable to play his customary way after 1 1/2 years of hip and abdominal injuries. He had hip surgery during the 2023 French Open, the first time he missed it since winning his debut there as a teenager.

“My body has been a jungle for two years. You don’t know what to expect,” Nadal said. “I wake up one day and I [felt like I had] a snake biting me. Another day, a tiger.”

Nadal, who turns 38 on June 3, has been limited to 16 matches and an 8-8 record since the start of last year. His infrequent play dropped his ranking to No. 275, and he was unseeded for the French Open for the first time; he’d never been anything worse than the No. 6 seed in 18 previous appearances.

That is why he ended up facing the No. 4-seeded Zverev, the runner-up at the 2020 U.S. Open, a gold medallist at the Tokyo Olympics and the only man to reach the semifinals in Paris each of the past three years.

Nadal’s other losses at Roland Garros came against Robin Soderling in 2009 and against Novak Djokovic in 2015 and 2021.

Swiatek wins 15th straight at Roland GarrosIga Swiatek began her bid for a third consecutive French Open title with a straightforward 6-1, 6-2 victory over Leolia Jeanjean, stretching her winning streak to 13 matches.

Swiatek, who has been ranked No. 1 for nearly every week since April 2022, put together an overwhelming 26-2 edge in winners and had just one, brief blip at Court Philippe Chatrier in the 61-minute match: She got broken to trail 1-0 in the second set.

But after nine unforced errors in the initial two games of that set, Swiatek made only two the rest of the way en route to a 15th consecutive win at Roland Garros. Three of her four Grand Slam trophies came in Paris — in 2020, 2022 and 2023. The last woman to win the championship at the clay-court major three straight times was Justine Henin in 2005-07.

“It feels like home here,” said Swiatek, who will meet four-time major champ and former No. 1 Naomi Osaka next. “I’m really happy to be back. Just feel like I can play really good tennis, so hopefully I’m going to be here as long as possible.”

Her match was going to be followed by one involving someone even more comfortable on the red clay: Rafael Nadal, the 14-time champion at Roland Garros. He was scheduled to face No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev in the first round in what might end up being Nadal’s last French Open match.

“For sure, I’ll be watching Rafa’s match,” Swiatek said. “Comparing me to him? I don’t think I’m at that level yet. He’s a great person and a great athlete … I will try to take lessons from him.”

Good mobility after hip injuryIn other early action Monday, reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner improved to 8-0 in Grand Slam play in 2024 by defeating Chris Eubanks 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova eliminated Rebeka Masarova 6-1, 6-3 and two-time major finalist Ons Jabeur beat Sachia Vickery of the U.S. 6-3, 6-2.

Sinner, who missed the Italian Open this month with an injured hip, moved well and his strokes seemed just fine. He limited the big-serving Eubanks to four aces, converted 5 of 10 break points and was broken only once himself.

Not suprisingly, the clean-striking Sinner won 10 of the 14 points that lasted nine strokes or more.

“The hip is good. I’m very happy. I’m glad that my team and myself worked very hard to be back on court as soon as possible,” Sinner said. “For sure, [my] general shape is not at 100 per cent yet, so we try to build every day.”

The encounter lasted only a little more than two hours and, truth be told, Sinner was not really tested all that much.

“I’m obviously happy by what I have achieved in the last months. But our goal is to improve every day. That for me is more important. I know I have to improve some things,” said Sinner, who now faces French veteran Richard Gasquet. “Let’s see what I can achieve in the future.”

WATCH l Canada’s Gabriel Diallo ousted in French Open 1st round:

Montreal’s Gabriel Diallo falls in opening round marathon match at French OpenMontreal’s Gabriel Diallo fell to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in a match that would go 4 hours, 22 minutes with Nishikori coming out victorious 7-5, 7-6(7-3), 3-6, 1-6, 7-5.

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