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Tennis: Bianca Andreescu prepared for competitors after 15-month hiatus

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Canada’s Andreescu will play Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania Tuesday within the first spherical of the Australian Open in Melbourne

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Sylvain Bruneau says Bianca Andreescu can be in “new territory” when she returns to aggressive tennis after a 15-month hiatus.

After some false begins throughout the previous 12 months, Canada’s Andreescu will play Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania on Tuesday within the first spherical of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

“This hasn’t unfolded the way in which we deliberate as a result of we wished two extra weeks of preparation right here and play in a lead-up match, which we weren’t capable of do,” Bruneau mentioned on a video-conference name from Melbourne. “We had an actual good interval main as much as our journey to Australia after which we’ve had 9 or 10 days since she acquired out of quarantine she’s been capable of practise every day and play quite a few observe matches.

Andreescu and 46 different gamers needed to isolate for 14 days when Bruneau, who has been her coach on the Nationwide Coaching Centre in Montreal since 2018, examined constructive for COVID-19 after they flew on a constitution flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne in mid-January.

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Andreescu tore her meniscus whereas enjoying within the WTA Tour finals in October 2019. A deliberate comeback early final 12 months was scuttled due to the pandemic and a comeback later within the 12 months was referred to as off due to a leg damage. She skilled in her hometown of Mississauga and in Spain earlier than organising camp in Dubai in December.

The WTA opened its season in Abu Dhabi, however Andreescu determined to not play.

“We wished to make it possible for at any time when she was going again to compete, she was not going to be nearly prepared, or 90 per cent prepared, however 100 per cent prepared,” Bruneau mentioned. “That was the plan from the start. It was very tempting (as a result of) it could have been good to play some matches earlier than an enormous match just like the Australian Open to interrupt the ice, really feel the stress and all that. It was a bummer as a result of we have been proper there, however we didn’t wish to threat it.”

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This isn’t the primary time Andreescu has come again from an damage. She missed 10 weeks with a shoulder damage in 2019 earlier than returning to beat Serena Williams to win the Canadian Open. A month later, she beat Williams once more within the last of the U.S. Open to turn out to be the primary Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Bruneau mentioned the eighth-seeded Andreescu gained’t have a simple match in opposition to Buzarnescu.

“They performed two years in the past in Acapulco (Andreescu gained 6-2, 7-5), and he or she’s a really difficult participant, a lefty,” Bruneau famous. “She misplaced within the qualifying and he or she’s right here as a fortunate loser, however she has been a High 20 participant.”

Andreescu is considered one of three Canadian ladies in the principle draw. Leylah Annie Fernandez, the 18-year-old from Laval, has a troublesome match in opposition to 18th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium Tuesday. Rebecca Marino, who gained three matches in Doha to qualify for her first Grand Slam because the 2013 Australian Open, performs Aussie Kimberly Birrell.

Within the males’s warm-up for the Open, Montrealer Félix Auger-Aliassime was upset by Britain’s Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-3 within the last of an ATP 250 occasion Sunday. Auger-Aliassime is 0-for-7 in ATP Tour finals.

phickey@postmedia.com

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