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Andreescu injury could put upcoming majors in doubt

Bianca Andreescu Bianca Andreescu - The Canadian Press

A run of good health that has lasted nearly a year appeared to come to an end Monday for Canada's Bianca Andreescu. 

Andreescu was forced to retire from her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova after suffering a lower left leg injury in the second set of their Round of 16 match at the Miami Open. 

The 22-year-old, who was up 2-0 in the second set after dropping the first set in a tiebreak, fell to court and yelled "not again" after the injury. She was taken off the court in a wheelchair, unable to put weight on her leg.

Andreescu wrote Twitter that she has a brace on her foot, noting the injury was "the worst pain I've ever felt" as she awaits test results.

"Woke up with a brace on my foot… anyone know what happened?" Andreescu wrote. "On a serious note tho… that was the worst pain I’ve ever felt… praying for nothing serious. Still waiting on official results.

"Thank you everyone for your thoughts and kind words, doesn’t go unnoticed."

"I’m just really sorry that it happened to [Andreescu]," Alexandrova said, per the WTA. "Seeing her on the court in so much pain, it’s just painful to watch. You cannot help, you just can do nothing, which is terrible. And I think she’s going to be fine soon, and I’m wishing for her speedy recovery.

"The first set was super tough and great, and it probably could be a pretty good match for both of us, but unfortunately [Andreescu’s injury] happened."

The severity of the injury remains unknown, but missing any significant amount of time would put Andreescu's participation in the upcoming majors in doubt.

Play at Roland-Garros is set to begin in exactly two months on May 28. Andreescu went out in the second round of the French Open last year, falling to Belinda Bencic.

Wimbledon is less than a month after play wraps up in France, with the tournament starting on July 3. Andreescu suffered a first-round loss to Alize Cornet in London last year.

Andreescu returned from more than a six-month absence last April after stepping away from the game for personal reasons. She wrote on Twitter in Dec. 2021 she had been affected mentally and physically by “multiple weeks in isolation quarantining” and that her grandmother's stay for several weeks in a hospital's intensive care unit because of COVID-19 “really hit me hard.”

After being ranked in the top 10 for most of 2021, Andreescu made her return at last year's Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart last April ranked 120th.

She earned her way back to the 31st ranking in the world entering play in Miami and was enjoying a strong run with victories over Emma Raducanu, No. 7 Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin to reach the Round of 16 Monday.

Canada's first-ever Grand Slam singles champion reached the final at the tournament last year, retiring against Ash Barty while down a set and trailing 4-0 in the second.

"Last time I played here in 2021, I did not enjoy myself," Andreescu said after her victory over Kenin on Sunday. "I did not feel that I deserved to be in that final.

"But this year, I feel like a totally different person, and I definitely feel I deserve to be here right now."

Andreescu missed over a year of action shortly after claiming her first career major title at the US Open in 2019. She returned from a 15-month competitive absence at the 2021 Australian Open after suffering a torn left meniscus at the WTA Tour finals in October 2019.

The Mississauga, Ont. native was 6-6 in singles play this year entering the Miami Open, where she won three straight matches for the first time since the Thailand Open in early February. Andreescu was also forced to retire in her fourth match of that tournament due to a shoulder injury but returned to play less than a week later in Abu Dhabi.