Bianca Andreescu will miss the 2022 Australian Open to focus on her mental health after suffering a "very challenging" couple of years.

Andreescu has struggled with physical and mental concerns since winning the US Open two years ago.

The 21-year-old has felt the strain even more this year, with her grandmother in intensive care after contracting COVID-19, Andreescu also testing positive and spending significant time in isolation.

The former world number four has decided to skip the first grand slam next year as she takes extra time out to "reset, recover and grow", but vowed to return "stronger than ever."

The Canadian tweeted: "As you all know, the past two years have been very challenging for me for a variety of reasons.

"Especially this year in particular, I spent multiple weeks in isolation quarantining which affected me greatly – both mentally and physically. In addition, my grandmother spent several weeks in the ICU due to a covid infection, something that really hit me hard.

"A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders.

"I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around it and it took its toll on me.

"I want to give myself extra time to reset, recover and grow from this (as cliche [sic] as that sounds) and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever.

"I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train and be ready for the upcoming 2022 season."

 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova suffered a shock defeat while defending champion Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff also were on the wrong end of upsets Monday at the Indian Wells Open. 

World number 115 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil stunned Pliskova in straight sets to reach the round of 16 at a WTA Premier 1000 event for the first time.

The 15th and 16th seeds, Gauff and Andreescu, also exited in two sets, albeit to seeded players. 

 

LUCKY LOSER OUSTS PLISKOVA 

Haddad Maia lost in the final round of qualifying but made the main draw as a lucky loser when Nadia Podoroska withdrew through injury, and she has made the most of that reprieve with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of the world number three. 

She had faced Pliskova once before and it did not go well, a 6-1 6-1 rout at the 2018 Australian Open, but the Czech struggled to find her trademark serve amid powerful winds in the California desert.

Pliskova suffered 12 double faults and won just 43.4 per cent of points on her serve, whole Haddad Maia saved nine of the 14 break points she faced on her own serve. 

 

KONTAVEIT STAYS HOT TO DETHRONE ANDREESCU

Haddad Maia next faces 18th seed Annett Kontaveit, who ousted Andreescu 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to end the Canadian's dreams of a repeat. 

Kontaveit has won 15 of her last 16 matches, winning titles in Cleveland and Ostrava during that stretch. Monday, she captured the first set on her fifth set point before rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the second to run the table and seal the win.

"It was extremely close throughout the match and I was just trying to stay tough. I was ready for a tough match," Kontaveit said. "She's such a good player, such a great competitor, so I knew it wasn't going to be over until it was really over."

 

BADOSA BOUNCES GAUFF

Paula Badosa, the 21st seed, breezed past Gauff 6-2 6-2 as the American teen also had trouble with her serve, hitting just two aces after recording 12 in her previous match. 

In a meeting of the last two defeated finalists in the tournament, 10th seed Angelique Kerber beat 20th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2 1-6 6-4. 

Third seed Barbora Krejcikova handled Amanda Anisimova with ease, 6-2 6-3. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, had little trouble in downing 22nd seed Danielle Collins 6-1 6-3. 

Garbine Muguruza could not keep the momentum going at the Indian Wells Open after winning a WTA title last week and the former world number one was followed out the door by Maria Sakkari.

Muguruza, who claimed the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, was surprisingly upstaged 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in an upset on Saturday.

Tomljanovic had been 0-6 against top-10 players this year heading into the match but had just enough to edge the fifth seed and two-time grand slam champion with some timely breaks of serve. 

The world number 47 Tomljanovic is into the third round at Indian Wells for the first time in seven appearances and next faces 26th seed Tamara Zidansek. 

"I was really looking forward to playing Garbine, because I did lose [to her] the last couple of times," Tomljanovic said in her on-court interview. "I did try to focus on that one time I beat her [in 2014], and tried to channel that energy, so I was really happy that I got through today."

GOLUBIC STUNS SAKKARI

Sixth seed Sakkari – a semi-finalist at this year's French and US Opens – also fell victim to a shock result, going out 5-7 6-3 6-2 to Viktorija Golubic in their first meeting. 

The pair kept trading service breaks in the opening set, five in all, before Golubic tightened up her game for the final two sets. 

After breaking the Swiss three times in the first set, Sakkari converted just one of four break points the rest of the match. 

Golubic had lost in the first round in her previous two trips to Indian Wells but is now on to the third, where she will face Anna Kalinskaya.

 

ANDREESCU HOLDS OFF RISKE

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu saw a potential straight-sets win slip away before recovering to defeat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-2.

Andreescu – the defending champion after the 2020 WTA Premier 1000 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic – led 4-1 in the second set but watched her advantage evaporate as Riske forced a decider, which the Canadian ended up taking comfortably as she faced only one break point in the last. 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova eased past Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-2, while third-seeded Barbora Krejcikova was pushed to a third set before prevailing 6-4 3-6 6-1 against Zarina Diyas. 

Angelique Kerber – the 10th seed and three-time major winner – went the distance to beat Katerina Siniakova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 7-5, while 15th seed Coco Gauff downed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 in her debut match at the tournament. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, prevailed 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 over Anastasija Sevastova and 18th seed Anett Kontaveit – Andreescu's next opponent – moved on when Martina Trevisan retired down 6-3 5-2. 

Maria Sakkari felt she got her just rewards for being brave as she triumphed in a late-night US Open thriller against Bianca Andreescu.

The Greek sealed a 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory in a gruelling last-16 clash that finally concluded at 02:13 local time in New York – the latest finish to a women's singles match in tournament history.

Sakkari saved eight of the 12 break points she faced as she racked up 46 winners and 40 unforced errors after adopting a bold approach to fight back from a set down and wrap up the victory in three hours and 30 minutes.

She ended 2019 champion Andreescu's 10-match unbeaten streak at the US Open and was delighted to see her tactics pay off, with Karolina Pliskova standing between her and second grand slam semi-final of the year.

Speaking about her fearless showing, Sakkari, who was beaten in the last four at Roland Garros, said: "It's something that I've been working with [coach] Tom [Hill] since end of last year, but I felt like I lost that bravery after the French. I was more hesitant. I was not going for it so much.

"After my loss [in Cincinnati] with Angie [Angelique Kerber] I just practiced for two weeks. I had some very tough practices where I was crying because I could not feel my shots, I could not feel my tennis. But thankfully I had Tom and Yannis, my hitting partner, that supported me a lot.

"I lost my identity. That's how I called it. I lost myself, part of myself. With my psychologist, as well, I found a way to come back and feel again what I felt out there today.

"By telling myself to be more brave, it's not like, Maria, now be brave, and you're brave. It's just a process in practice and everything that has helped me to be more brave.

"I mean, there was a decent crowd staying until 2:30 at night. I said, Maria, you cannot give up. Just stay focused and stay calm and just make balls."

Local hope and reigning champion Bianca Andreescu blew an early lead as she was toppled by Ons Jabeur in the Round of 16 at the National Bank Open in Montreal.

Tunisian 13th seed Jabeur defeated the Canadian second seed 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 in two hours and 39 minutes on Thursday.

The come-from-behind triumph was the second time in two matches that the Tunisian has rallied from a set down to win after beating Daria Kasatkina in three.

Jabeur had twice been a break up in the opening set before Andreescu claimed it in an tiebreak.

The 26-year-old Tunisian, who made the Wimbledon quarter-finals this year, responded by breaking at 5-4 to win the second set.

After Andreescu had an injury scare after landing awkwardly on her left foot late in the second set, Jabeur dominated the third, finishing by winning eight of the final nine games.

Jabeur finished with 9-3 aces and was more effective on serve, going at an 81.6 win percentage on her first serve (40 from 49 points).

The lower side of the draw has opened up for the Tunisian who will face Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals after the unseeded American defeated countrywoman Danielle Collins 6-4 3-6 7-5.

Two-time Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Petra Kvitova was knocked out in a shock by Italian Camila Giorgi in straight sets.

Giorgi, ranked 71st in the world, won 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes and will face Cori Gauff in the quarter-finals after she had another walkover against Johanna Konta.

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka had no such problems, cruising past Canadian Rebecca Marino 6-1 6-3 inside an hour.

Sabalenka sets up a quarter-final clash with fellow Belarussian and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.

Azarenka got past Greek 11th seed Maria Sakkari in three sets, 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2).

Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova got past Amanda Anisimova 6-1 7-6 (10-8) and will play Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last eight after she won in three sets over Katerina Siniakova.

Crowd favourite Bianca Andreescu was made to work as she opened her defence of the National Bank Open title she won two years ago but the Canadian eventually prevailed in Montreal. 

Andreescu defeated Harriet Dart 6-1 3-6 6-3 in just over two hours in her first match since falling to Alize Cornet in the opening around at Wimbledon. 

That was the latest in a disappointing string of results for Andreescu, who also departed Roland Garros after one match, but the world number eight got back on track Tuesday. 

"Playing at home is so, so awesome," Andreescu said in her on-court interview. "You guys [the fans] show me so much love, especially tonight. I've never had this kind of support before, so I'm so, so grateful."

While Andreescu was able to navigate a challenging opener, three other seeded players were not as fortunate. 

Katerina Siniakova downed fifth seed Garbine Muguruza 6-2 0-6 6-3, while Camila Giorgi ousted ninth seed Elise Mertens 6-3 7-5 and Liudmila Samsonova defeated 12th seed Elena Rybakina 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Having a better time of it were seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova, the 2012 tournament champion, and number 10 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won by identical 6-4 6-4 scorelines against Frenchwomen Fiona Ferro and Carolina Garcia, respectively. 

Eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka waited out a rain delay to cruise past 2013 finalist Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-2 in the final match of the day. 

In other action, 15th seed Coco Gauff handled Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-4 while her countrywoman Danielle Collins continued rolling after her title in San Jose last week, rallying past Jil Teichmann 4-6 6-1 6-3 for her 11th consecutive match win. 

Two more Americans, Sloane Stephens and Jessica Pegula, prevailed in three sets as well. 

Johanna Konta returned to the court after missing Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus-related issues and advanced when Zhang Shuai was forced to retire up 6-4 2-5 with a leg injury. 

Fifth seed Bianca Andreescu made an early exit from Wimbledon as she suffered a first-round defeat to Alize Cornet.

Two weeks on from losing to the same opponent on grass in Berlin, Andreescu suffered another straight-sets disappointment, going down 6-2 6-1.

The Canadian boasted a better first serve percentage (73 to 63) and hit more winners (17 to 11) but paid for a high unforced errors count (34 to seven) as she crashed out.

Andreescu's defeat extends a frustrating period since winning the US Open two years ago.

The 21-year-old, who recently split with long-time coach Sylvain Bruneau, has seen her career limited by a combination of injuries and the break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

As for Cornet, her Wimbledon campaign will continue with a second-round clash against either Greet Minnen or Ajla Tomljanovic.

The Frenchwoman is aiming to improve on the career-best run that saw her reach the fourth round at SW19 in 2014. 

Second seed Elina Svitolina crashed out of the Viking International in Eastbourne at the last-16 stage on Wednesday with a straight sets defeat to Elena Rybakina.

The world number five lost 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to 21st-ranked Rybakina, whose reward is a meeting with Coco Gauff's conqueror Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada also lost in straight sets, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia beating her 6-3 6-3.

And it was the same story for fourth seed Iga Swiatek, though she at least took a set as she was beaten by Daria Kasatkina.

It took an impressive rally from Russia's Kasatkina to bounce back from losing the first en route to a 4-6 6-0 6-1 success.

She will now face Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Ons Jabeur 5-7 6-4 6-3.

In fact, top seed Aryna Sabalenka was the only seed to avoid a surprise exit on Wednesday as she cruised through.

The Belarussian, ranked fourth in the world, beat Alison Riske 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour to set up a clash with Camila Giorgi.

Giorgi had earlier followed up a win over defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the last round by beating Shelby Rogers 6-3 4-6 6-2.

There was no such string of shocks at Wednesday's other WTA event, the Bad Homburg Open in Germany, though first and second seeds Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka needed three sets to progress.

Kvitova lost a second-set tie-break as she beat Ann Li 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 to reach the quarters, while Azarenka defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

Angelique Kerber, the fourth seed, progressed more smoothly, earning a comfortable 6-0 6-2 win over Russia's Anna Blinkova.

And Nadia Podoroska saw off the challenge of Patricia Maria Tig, winning 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-4.

The top three seeds fell at the bett1open on Wednesday as Aryna Sabalenka followed Elina Svitolina and Bianca Andreescu out of the tournament.

A 6-4 1-6 7-5 victory for Madison Keys over top seed Sabalenka capped a day of upsets in Berlin.

American Keys fought back from a set down to bundle the world number four out in an hour and 29 minutes.

The battling Sabalenka saved 10 break points but was unable to avoid an early exit in the inaugural grass-court event.

Second seed Svitolina started her grass-court season with a 6-4 7-5 defeat to Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Russian Alexandrova fended off seven set points in the second set before sending the world number six, who was given a first-round bye, packing.

Svitolina, playing her first match since crashing out of the French Open in the third round, became the fourth top-10 scalp for Alexandrova, who will face Belinda Bencic in her fifth quarter-final of the year.

Andreescu's first match on grass since Wimbledon qualifying three years ago ended in a 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 loss to Alize Cornet.

The third seed from Canada parted with her long-time coach Sylvain Bruneau after she was beaten by Tamara Zidansek in the first round at Roland Garros and was unable to hit the ground running on grass.

Bencic, the fifth seed, advanced with a 6-3 5-4 success over Petra Martic.

Iga Swiatek celebrated her 20th birthday in style on Monday, overcoming Kaja Juvan in straight sets to get her French Open title defence off to a strong start.

Swiatek clinched her maiden grand slam – and first senior career title – at Roland Garros in 2020, and the Pole was in supreme form as she confidently saw off close friend Juvan 6-0 7-5.

A champion in Rome in the lead-up to Roland Garros, Swiatek made it 20 game wins in a row – dating back to her Internazionali d'Italia semi-final against Coco Gauff – until Juvan held her own in the second game of the second set.

Swiatek saved two break points at 5-5 before wrapping up the win.

"It's never easy to play against your best friend," Swiatek said after the match. "I have some experience because I played with Kaja for a few times. I've played with my other friends on junior level.

"You just try to block this friendship for two hours, just focus on the game.

"I think I'm doing that pretty well. It's nice to have that skill. So I was just trying to treat Kaja as any other girl, as any other opponent, because in sports when we are on court you can't have thoughts that are you going to make your game softer."

ANGUISH FOR ANDREESCU 

There was no such route through for Bianca Andreescu, the sixth seed coming unstuck against world number 85 Tamara Zidansek.

Andreescu's stint at this year's French Open lasted three hours and 20 minutes, but the world number four could not find a way through and duly became the biggest women's casualty of the first round so far.

The 2019 US Open champion headed into the tournament on the back of pulling out of a quarter-final at the Internationaux de Strasbourg due to an abdominal injury and was playing in only her third tour-level match on clay. She won the opening set on a tie-break, yet it was Zidansek who prevailed 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-2) 9-7 to claim her first win over a top-10 opponent.

Kiki Bertens was another seed to drop out, the number 16 going down 6-1 3-6 6-4 to Polona Hercog.

KENIN BATTLES ON

World number five Sofia Kenin saw off a tough challenger in the form of 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko.

"I knew it was gonna be a tough match, she's a great player," Kenin said, after a 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory. "I knew I needed to play my best tennis in order to win."

Kenin, 22, came from a break down twice to take the opening set, and though Ostapenko hit back, American Kenin held her nerve in the decider, setting up a second-round tie with compatriot Hailey Baptiste.

"I'm a feisty kid, and I have to fight in order to win," added Kenin, who lost to Swiatek in last year's final but has struggled for results in 2021. "I've got a little bit of feistiness in me and that helps me in these types of matches."

Bianca Andreescu was in good form again as she saw off Maryna Zanevska to reach the last eight at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Until this week the Canadian had been absent from the WTA Tour since making the final in Miami back in March, missing recent events after a positive COVID-19 test.

But she has now won two straight matches on clay for the first time in her career, having barely played on the surface at tour level before.

Top seed Andreescu was playing an opponent ranked outside of the world's top 250 for a second straight day, though she emphatically did the job against qualifier Zanevska, winning 6-1 6-4 in just 65 minutes.

Aside from needing to recover from 4-2 down in the second set, Andreescu had few problems and converted all five of the break points she forced in the contest.

However, the second seed at the WTA 250 event is out.

Australian Open quarter-finalist Jessica Pegula was upset by Arantxa Rus, losing 6-4 6-4.

Pegula won only 10 of her 31 points on second serve as she was broken on five occasions.

But there was relief for seventh seed Shelby Rogers, who won an epic contest lasting three hours and 23 minutes against fellow American Christina McHale.

Rogers won 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 in a memorable clash. The eventual winner was a point away from wrapping up the victory in straight sets before later needing to save a match point herself in the decider.

Bianca Andreescu had little trouble in her first outing on clay this season, easing past Andrea Lazaro Garcia at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Andreescu had been absent from the WTA Tour since making the final in Miami back in March, when she was forced to retire when a set and 4-0 down against Ashleigh Barty due to an ankle injury.

A positive COVID-19 test result ruled her out of competing in Madrid and also Rome, though the Canadian showed few signs of rust on her return.

The top seed defeated the world number 279 – who was making her main-draw debut after coming through qualifying – in just 61 minutes, a 6-1 6-2 triumph sealed in a hurry thanks to five breaks of serve.

Champion at the 2019 US Open, Andreescu did not play in any grand slam event last year. She has only featured in the main draw at the French Open once before, reaching the second round at Roland Garros two years ago.

"I feel really, really good," the world number seven said after an impressive opening display. "I had really good preparation coming into this tournament, so I'm super happy."

Also in action on Monday, Yulia Putintseva overcame Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson via a tie-break in the deciding set of their see-saw contest.

The fourth seed eventually prevailed 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) after three hours and 20 minutes on court, booking her a spot in the last 16 of the tournament.

Zhang Shuai was successful in her first outing, beating Misaki Doi 7-5 6-4. Barbora Krejcikova was another seed to make it through, having led 6-3 3-0 when opponent Oceane Dodin retired.

Caroline Garcia overcame Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-2, while Maryna Zanevska needed less than an hour to overcome Yuliya Hatouka 6-2 6-1 and set up a clash with Andreescu.

Jil Teichmann was also a winner in straight sets against Anna Blinkova, but Venus Williams' campaign is over early after going out to Sorana Cirstea, who dominated a decider to triumph 6-1 2-6 6-1.

World number one Ash Barty defended the WTA Miami Open title after opponent Bianca Andreescu retired injured in the second set of Saturday's final.

Barty was well in command of the showpiece, leading 6-3 4-0, when Andreescu was forced to end the contest prematurely. The Canadian had turned her ankle in the second game of the second set.

It was not the way Barty would have wanted to retain a title for the first time in her career, but the Australian is now on a 12-match winning streak in Miami.

Moreover, it is now 13 wins from 16 matches against top-10 opponents and six straight for Barty, while she now has 10 WTA titles and two in 2021.

The injury made for a disappointing end to a brave tournament for Andreescu, who won four consecutive three-set matches to make the final.

The 20-year-old will be hoping her latest problem is not serious, with the 2019 US Open champion having missed the entirety of last season due to injury.

Barty's wicked forehands were causing problems early on and it was a fine passing winner that earned the first break, and in no time Andreescu was 3-1 adrift.

The plucky Andreescu forced her opponent into some errors to break back, but a backhand cross-court winner in the next game saw Barty regain an advantage she would not relinquish – finishing the first set with 11 winners to the Canadian's six – including three aces.

A double fault allowed Barty to take an early break in the second set, and an understandably tearful Andreescu battled on for two games after the trip before finally calling it a day in unfortunate circumstances.

World number one Ashleigh Barty maintained her winning run in Miami with her best performance of the 2021 tournament to date dispatching of Elina Svitolina to book a spot in the final.

Barty defeated fifth seed Svitolina 6-3 6-3 in Thursday's semi-final, hitting 27 winners and breaking her Ukrainian opponent five times.

The Australian had been down a match point in her opening clash of this year's Miami Open against Kristina Kucova but the 2019 champion has responded to every challenge since.

However, Barty needed three sets to overcome both Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka in earlier rounds before making more light work of Svitolina to make it 11 straight wins in Miami, given 2020's event was cancelled.

Barty will play 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu in Saturday's final after she defeated Naomi Osaka's conqueror Maria Sakkari 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) in Thursday's other semi-final.

"Yeah, I think it was," Barty said in her on-court interview when asked if it was her best match of the tournament.

"I think [with] Elina, you have to produce your best tennis. Happy with the way we were able to execute today."

Svitolina went into the match with a 5-1 head-to-head advantage over Barty, while the Australian had not played on foreign soil prior to the event since February 2020, opting to step away from the tour during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the head-to-head we had, I almost see myself as the underdog, I really do," Barty said.

"It gives me the chance to go out there and play with freedom. To play not careless but carefree tennis."

Barty has reinforced her world number one ranking from Osaka, who lost to Sakkari in the quarters, by progressing this far although adding a second Miami Open title will be top priority.

The 24-year-old 2019 French Open champion had a medical timeout between sets to tend to a preexisting abdominal issue but said she would be fine for the decider on Saturday.

"Yeah, I was a little bit sore," she said. "I got some assistance with some tape on it. But knowing we’ve got a day to recover tomorrow, I promise you I’ll be right as rain and then we’ll be good to go."

Eighth seed Andreescu booked her place in the decider with a strong three-set victory over 23rd seed Sakkari in a match which finished in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Canadian won in two hours and 42 minutes in a match full of momentum shifts, as Andreescu won her fourth three-setter in five matches in Miami this week.

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