Tennis star from Mississauga nearly captures tournament title on her birthday

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Published June 17, 2024 at 5:54 pm

Mississauga's Bianca Andreescu competes in the Netherlands June 2024.
Mississauga's Bianca Andreescu competes in tournament final on Sunday in the Netherlands. (Photo: Tennis Canada/YouTube)

In her second tournament back after being sidelined from the women’s pro tennis circuit for nearly 10 months by a back injury, Bianca Andreescu nearly gave herself the best possible birthday gift on Sunday.

The Mississauga native, who turned 24 yesterday, won the opening set before dropping the next two to lose the final match at the Libema Open in the Netherlands.

Andreescu, who returned to action three weeks ago at the French Open, defeated Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova 6-4 in the opening set on Sunday before then falling 3-6, 5-7 to narrowly miss what would’ve been her first tournament title since 2019 (U.S. Open).

Though Andreescu started the grass-court match strong, it was the 25-year-old Russian (No. 15 on the Women’s Tennis Association circuit) who finished in even stronger fashion to win the championship tilt of the tourney that serves as a tune-up for Wimbledon.

Wimbledon, one of the four Majors, gets underway July 1 in London.

Andreescu, who has battled injuries and other issues on and off since bursting onto the global tennis scene with her stunning victory at the 2019 U.S. Open, defeated Hungary’s Dalma Galfi 6-4, 6-2 in one of Saturday’s semi-final matches to advance to Sunday’s final.

She has won six of eight matches since getting back onto the court in France, where she was eliminated in third-round French Open action on June 1 by Italy’s Jasmine Paolini (WTA No. 7).

Andreescu, who has fallen to No. 163 in WTA rankings since being sidelined, was forced to pull out of the 2023 U.S. Open last August after injuring her back.

Her current ranking, though a dramatic and expected drop-off from the No. 51 she carried into last year’s U.S. Open before withdrawing, is 65 spots better than last week prior to her strong showing in the Netherlands.

Following her big win in New York City in 2019, after which she rose to an all-time high ranking of No. 4 on the WTA singles circuit, Andreescu eventually fell on hard times on the tennis court.

A hiatus from the sport followed, with Andreescu not playing at all in 2021, and she’s been on the comeback trail since early 2022. She was also hindered by several injuries prior to her latest back problem.

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