Canada: Andreescu wins on return as Nadal withdraws

  • Matt Trollope

Back on home soil, Bianca Andreescu scored a much-needed win on Tuesday night to lead several big names into the last 16 at the Canadian Open.

Yet Rafael Nadal was not one of them, with the Spanish superstar succumbing to an ongoing foot injury and pulling out of the tournament. 

The event is spread across Canada’s two biggest cities, with the women this year playing in Montreal and the men gathering in Toronto. 

Andreescu is the defending champion, having won the women’s title the last time the event was played in Toronto in 2019, just a few weeks before she went on to win the US Open.

The world No.8 had lost four of her past five matches before arriving in Montreal, but elevated her game from a break down in the third set to beat a gallant Harriet Dart 6-1 3-6 6-3.

With the win, Andreescu moved into the third round where she joined No.7 seed Petra Kvitova, eighth seed Victoria Azarenka and Olympic doubles gold medallist Katerina Siniakova, who upset No.5 seed Garbina Muguruza 6-2 0-6 6-3.

Wednesday’s schedule sees the long-awaited return of Simona Halep, who has been sidelined since tearing her calf at the Rome tournament in May.

She takes on Danielle Collins, a recent champion in Palermo and San Jose who improved her winning streak to 11 with a three-set win over Jil Teichman in round one.  

Tournament top seed Aryna Sabalenka also features in second-round action on Wednesday when she plays American star Sloane Stephens. 

ORDER OF PLAY: Wednesday 11 August (Montreal)

Meanwhile, Nadal’s withdrawal means none of the ‘Big Three’ will take part in the Masters-level tournament, with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer earlier announcing they would not make the trip to Toronto.

It marks the first time since 2001 that the Canada tournament has gone ahead without the legendary trio – who each own 20 Grand Slam singles titles. 

“I have had this issue for a couple of months, as people know,” said Nadal of his foot injury, which saw him skip Wimbledon and the Olympics. “Of course, it is not a happy situation after all the success that I had here in Canada, not being able to play this year after missing a year. It’s a tough one, but that's how it is today."

Daniil Medvedev headlines the draw as the top seed, with third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas the second-highest ranked player in the men’s field. 

Medvedev and Tsitsipas both progressed to the third round with three-set victories on Tuesday; Medvedev saw off Alexander Bublik for the third time in three months while Tsitsipas beat Ugo Humbert, avenging his first-round loss to the Frenchman at the Tokyo Olympics.

They joined sixth seed Casper Ruud and American Reilly Opelka in the last 16 in Toronto; Opelka upset No.14 seed Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday night while Ruud – a winner of his past three tournaments – is now on a 12-match winning streak after stopping Marin Cilic 6-3 3-6 6-3.

On Wednesday, Canadian stars Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime will play their second-round matches, against Frances Tiafoe and Dusan Lajovic respectively. 

Both Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime are top-10 seeds and are aiming to become the first home-grown men’s champion at the event since Robert Bédard in 1958.

Also in action is last week’s Washington DC champion Jannik Sinner, who takes on Australia’s James Duckworth for a shot at Medvedev in the last 16.