No.1 seed Bianca Andreescu added another clay-court match-win to her resume as she advanced into the quarterfinals of the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over qualifier Maryna Zanevska.
But the Canadian withdrew from her upcoming quarterfinal due to an abdominal injury she incurred during the match.
"I’m super happy with the win today," Andreescu told the media after her victory. "I will be pulling out of my next match, because I did feel a little bit of an ab tear, and I don’t want to push it at all for Roland Garros. I don’t want to take any risks. Nothing serious though. It’s a little discomfort."
Andreescu has now won two matches at a WTA-level clay-court tournament for the very first time in her career. Her 65-minute win over the Belgian was just her third singles match at a WTA event on the surface in total.
World No.7 Andreescu was down a break in the second set at 4-2. However, the 2019 US Open champion charged back from that deficit to win the final four games of the clash.
Zanevska, currently ranked 259th but with a career-high ranking of World No.105, earned her first WTA-level victory since 2018 over fellow qualifier Yuliya Hatouka in the opening round. However, she was unable to claim her first Top 10 victory against Andreescu despite making things competitive in the second set.
Andreescu dominated the first set, firing a forehand passing winner to earn her second break of the day and lead 5-1. After double-faulting away her initial set point in the very next game, she slammed an overhead to convert her second chance and close out the opening frame.
The top seed moved ahead by an early break in the second set as well, but things started to get dicier as Zanevska tightened up her shots and amped up her aggression. The Belgian broke Andreescu at love to level the set at 2-2, then found a handful of beautiful backhands to break again for 4-2 and have a shot at pushing the match into a decisive third set.
But a rally forehand winner on break point in the following game pulled Andreescu on serve again, and it was the Canadian’s turn to trim her unforced error count and move her way back into control. At 4-4, a deep return on break point helped Andreescu notch another break and a 5-4 lead, and she served out the match at love from there.
However, it was within that second set where Andreescu felt discomfort, which will preclude her from moving beyond the quarterfinals in Strasbourg.
Andreescu felt the discomfort on a serve in the 2nd set. “Super disappointing having to pull out but the tennis I played in the two matches was really, really good. I executed everything exactly how I wanted to…. So I’m really happy with these two matches before the French."— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 25, 2021
No.2 seed Jessica Pegula saw her Strasbourg campaign come to an early end in the first round. Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands upset the World No.29 from the United States, 6-4, 6-4, in an hour and a half.
Rus won over two-thirds of points returning Pegula's second serve, breaking the American five times. The win continues a run of good form on clay for Rus, who reached the final of her most recent event, a clay-court ITF Challenger event in La Bisbal D'Emporda, Spain.
Rus, ranked No.84, has posted a number of her career highlights on the red clay of France. She upset then-World No.2 Kim Clijsters at 2011 Roland Garros, and made it to her only Grand Slam fourth-round appearance in Paris the very next year.
Wildcard Harmony Tan will be Rus's opponent in the second round. Tan, who made her first WTA semifinal earlier this season on the clay of Bogota, won her first-round match over Alison van Uytvanck, 6-4, 6-4.
May 25, 2021
Another seeded American did survive her opening-round clash, but barely. No.7 seed Shelby Rogers saved a match point and outlasted her compatriot Christina McHale, 7-5, 6-7(6), 7-5, in one of the longest matches of the season thus far.
Rogers needed 3 hours and 23 minutes to quash the challenge by McHale and reach the second round. However, Rogers was a point away from winning in straight sets: she held a match point at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreak before McHale reeled off the next three points to swipe the set.
Rogers then led 4-1 in the third before McHale won four games in a row to reach 5-4. McHale then had a match point of her own in that game, but Rogers held on for 5-5, then won the final two games with relative ease to seal victory from a precarious position.
Rogers will meet German qualifier Jule Niemeier in the second round. Niemeier beat fellow qualifier Diane Parry 6-4, 6-3 in their opening-round clash, earning her first-ever WTA main-draw match-win after an hour and 19 minutes of play.
Alizé Cornet, though, had to retire from her second-round match due to injury, while trailing No.8 seed Magda Linette 7-6(2), 3-0. Cornet, the 2013 Strasbourg champion, suffered a right hip injury, putting Linette into the quarterfinals.
"I felt a really sudden pain in the first game of the match, so it’s really unlucky," Cornet told the press after her retirement.
"But you know me, I kept playing, I kept trying, and I was even in the position to win the [first] set," Cornet continued. "But every time I was running, it was quite difficult, and in the second set it got a little bit worse."