Defending champion Ash Barty has been handed a tough draw at the Adelaide International next week, with an Australian Open semi-finalist and French Open champion looming in her first two matches.
After coming back from 15 months [off] and playing long, tough matches, I’m dealing with a lower body issue. I want to think about the rest of the season, so I’m pulling out of Adelaide. Bianca Andreescu
AO finalist Jennifer Brady has opted out of the tournament, while Bianca Andreescu’s return to the tour after a 15-month injury layoff was short-lived as organisers announced on Saturday that the 2019 US Open champion had pulled out with a left leg problem.
The opening round at this month’s Australian Open was the first match for the 20-year-old Canadian since the 2019 WTA Finals in Shenzhen where she retired with a meniscus tear in her left knee.
Andreescu, who was in hard quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, exited the Grand Slam in the 2nd round and then reached the semi-finals of the Phillip Island Trophy this week, where she had 2 match points before losing to Czech Marie Bouzkova.
“After coming back from 15 months [off] and playing long, tough matches, I’m dealing with a lower body issue,” Andreescu said in a statement from the Adelaide organisers. “I want to think about the rest of the season, so I’m pulling out of Adelaide.”
Andreescu was scheduled to head to the Middle East next for WTA events in Doha and Dubai next month.
Meanwhile the World No 1, Barty, who accepted a late wildcard in Adelaide after being taken out of the AO quarters, receives a first-round bye, but then things look like quickly getting pretty tough from there.
Danielle Collins, who was a 2019 AO semi-finalist, looks a likely 2nd-round opponent for Barty, and the American pushed her to a 3rd-set tiebreak in the semis in Adelaide last year.
French Open champion Iga Swiatek, the 5th seed, is a potential quarter-final opponent.
Swiatek has drawn a qualifier to start and is slated to either play wild card Sam Stosur or another qualifier in the round 2.
On the other side of the draw, 2nd seed Belinda Benic also has a bye before a potential match-up with Anna Blinkova.
Australians Stosur, Ajla Tomljanovic and 18-year old Olivia Gadecki all took wild cards to play the event.
Stosur and Tomljanovic both play qualifiers to start their campaigns, while Gadecki takes on Qiang Wang in round 1.
In the qualifying event, top seed Coco Gauff received a walkover from Britain’s Fran Jones and will take on Kaja Juvan from Slovenia for a place in the main draw.
Australia’s Storm Sanders was among the winners in the round 1, recording her biggest singles win in 7 years.
The 26-year-old wild card scored a 6-2 4-6 6-3 victory over World No 66 Bernarda Pera from the USA, who entered the tournament in good form, having defeated former World No 1 Angelique Kerber at Melbourne Park.
Sanders proved too difficult on Sunday for the 26-year-old American, closing out an impressive win in 2 hours and 14 minutes to score her second career top-100 win and the first since January 2014.
The World No 291 next plays American Caty McNally, the World No 113, in the second qualifying round for a place in the main draw.
Ellen Perez also scored an impressive win, defeating World No 98 Wang Yafan, 6-1 6-4, the 25-year-old’s 4th career top-100 win and 1st since September 2019.
Perez, who is ranked No 238, plays the 4th-seeded American Madison Brengle next, who took out another Aussie, Destanee Aiava, 6-2 6-2.
Maddison Inglis won an all-Australian battle against Belinda Woolcock, prevailing in two tight sets, to set up a final round clash with 3rd-seeded American Christina McHale.
Fellow Aussie Astra Sharma also advanced, scoring a 3-set win against former World No 23 Lesia Tsurenko, and the 25-year-old now plays 6th-seeded Italian Jasmine Paolini in the final qualifying round.