A superb comeback fortnight for Bianca Andreescu, where she showed off the form that brought her great success during the 2019 season, came to an abrupt end as the Canadian retired due to injury while trailing 6-3, 4-0 against World No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the Miami final.
"It was a great tournament," Andreescu said, in her post-match press conference. "I really fought through very tough matches. My body seemed to be good up until today. I think it was just, like, a freak accident."
Read more: Barty defends Miami Open title over injured Andreescu
A trip and stumble at 2-0 affected Andreescu's foot, causing her to retire two games later in the first meeting between the two Grand Slam champions, who exchanged kind words at the net afterwards.
Andreescu recalled: "[Barty] said, 'It was great playing. I'm so sorry. I hope you get better, and I know we're going to be seeing each other a lot on the other side of the net.' Super sweet."
Can't wait to see these two battle it out again soon 🤩@ashbarty @Bandreescu_ | #MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/OxGS8CvCAl— wta (@WTA) April 3, 2021
It was an unfortunate occurrence for the already injury-plagued Andreescu, who had to make the difficult decision to stop her first WTA final since 2019.
"No one wants to end a tournament retiring, especially in the finals," Andreescu said. "But things happen, and I want to look ahead in my career. I'm only 20. I'm not trying to risk anything right now."
"I'm proud of myself for that because I'm super resilient," the Canadian added. "For me to do that today took a lot."
Despite the injury, Andreescu had already proven that she was back in top-tier form throughout the fortnight, gritting her way through the draw with sublime aggression and determination.
"I'm definitely the type of person to wear her emotions on her sleeve," Andreescu said. "I'm not afraid of that. To me, it's more of a strength because I'm being who I am."
"I think that shows a lot of people that they can do the same, because a lot of the times people say, 'Oh, if you show your emotions it's a weakness,' but to me it's not. It's how I express myself. I'm a very expressive person. It's helped me win. Like, that's how I win on top of a lot of other things."
Great to see you fighting out there again, @Bandreescu_ 💪💜#MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/MupBZQzG93— wta (@WTA) April 3, 2021
Proving that, Andreescu won four three-set matches in a row en route to the final, including a recovery from 4-2 down in the final set to beat Maria Sakkari in a late-night semifinal.
"It feels like I played three tournaments in one with all the time I had on court, which is awesome considering I haven't been playing a lot of tournaments over the last couple of months," Andreescu said.
After missing the entire 2020 season due to injury, Andreescu returned to WTA action in the Aussie swing earlier this year, where she went 4-2.
"I think it was good that I got matches under my belt in Australia, because that really helped me, a part of what helped me do well this week," Andreescu said. "I just continue trusting the process, and that's really helped me this week. I mean, I got to the finals, so I'm going to continue like that."
With Miami as her first tournament on North American soil since her run to the 2019 US Open title, Andreescu now holds a 33-3 record on that continent since the beginning of 2019, when she also picked up titles in Indian Wells and at the Rogers Cup.
"It's nice to have all of this under my belt," Andreescu said. "I'm feeling confident. Sometimes my game is not always going to be there, but I clutch it out during those times, I'll figure it out. And sometimes I'll be on court and I'll feel totally great.
"But that's just a challenge of playing sports in general. And I'm here for it, and I want to be here for it for a long time."