Bianca Andreescu retires from Miami Open final with ankle injury
Ash Barty wins after injury forces Mississauga, Ont., native to cut match short
Bianca Andreescu has suffered another injury, ending her best tournament since capturing the U.S. Open title in September 2019.
The Canadian retired with a right ankle injury after falling behind 6-3, 4-0 against top-ranked Ash Barty of Australia in the final of the Miami Open on Saturday.
The eighth-seeded Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., tumbled to the court in the third game of the second set and struggled with her movement after the fall. She was wearing tape on the right ankle for the entire final of the WTA 1000 event — one level below a Grand Slam.
Andreescu called a medical timeout to receive treatment from the trainer after Barty finished the game with a break to go up 3-0.
WATCH | Andreescu retires from Miami Open final with injury:
She returned for one more game, but wasn't moving well.
"Definitely not the way I wanted to end the tournament," Andreescu said. "But I'm super grateful nonetheless. I got to the final of one of my first tournaments in a while now, and I could not be more happy."
Afterward, she put her hand to her face as she tried to hold back tears before going to the net to greet Barty and end the match.
Andreescu returned from a 16-month layoff in February at the Australian Open, losing in the second round of the Grand Slam. She suffered a knee injury late in 2019 and opted not to try to make a comeback earlier in the pandemic in 2020.
The 20-year-old Canadian followed up her first tournament back by reaching the semifinals of an event in Melbourne for players eliminated early from the Australian Open, but a leg injury suffered there kept her out until Miami.
Speedy recovery, <a href="https://twitter.com/Bandreescu_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Bandreescu_</a> 🙏<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MiamiOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MiamiOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/Ba863TKpoa">pic.twitter.com/Ba863TKpoa</a>—@WTA
Andreescu did not specifically address the nature of the injury when she made her speech during the trophy presentations.
"I just want to say for me getting back on my feet wasn't easy, but I continued to believe in myself and I never gave up," she said. "To everyone out there going through a tough time like me now, I just want to say keep your head up and continue to believe in yourself."
However in a post-match interview, Andreescu expressed her frustration.
"It seems that I'm kind of the only one that keeps getting asked questions about injuries, which is super annoying," the former world No. 4 told reporters.
Andreescu focussed on future
"I don't want, like, for me to have a reputation of that, because it's not only me that's getting injured. But, yeah, I mean, it's happened quite a bit, but I don't want to define myself through those. It sucks.
"Even if it's something small, sometimes I'll be extra cautious, but I'd rather be that than push through it and get it worse, because I have been through both, and today I'm glad that I stopped. It's hard for me to say that, but I'm glad that I stopped."
Looking ahead toward the rest of the season, Andreescu remained confident.
"My body seemed to be good up until today," said Andreescu, who will climb up three spots to number six in the rankings on Monday.
"No one wants to end a tournament retiring, especially in the finals. But things happen, and I want to look ahead in my career. I'm only 20."
After winning four three-set matches in a row to reach the Miami final, Andreescu struggled to find any rhythm against Barty in their first career meeting.
"I hope you recover well and this doesn't hinder your season too much," Barty told Andreescu during the trophy ceremony. "I'm sure we'll have many more good and hopefully healthy matches in the future."
Andreescu has exited early in both appearances in Miami with injuries — her only two losses in North America since the start of 2019.
Barty, the 2019 French Open champ, won her 10th career title and earned $300,110 US of the $3.26-million total purse. Andreescu pocketed $165,000.
Barty overpowered Andreescu early to jump in front 3-0 before the Canadian found some rhythm and broke back to cut the deficit to 3-2.
But on Andreescu's next service game, the Australian responded. Two winners after Andreescu fought off two break points put Barty up 4-2 for the decisive break. The world No. 1 then won every point on the ensuing serve game to take charge of the first set.
Andreescu is scheduled to take most of April off. Before the match, her agent, Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy, said Andreescu is scheduled to return for WTA 1000 clay-court events in Madrid (April 29-May 8) and Rome (May 10-16) before playing in the French Open (May 23-June 5).
With files from The Associated Press and Reuters