Bianca Andreescu made a winning return to clay almost two years after her last match on the surface, snuffing out the hopes of qualifier Andrea Lazaro Garcia 6-1, 6-2 for a second-round place in Strasbourg.
The Canadian was quick to insist the one-off win shows she’s back as a threat – even with just two career matches completed on clay.
“I felt really good and can’t think of anything to improve,” she said,
“I definitely place this match among my five best from start to finish.
“My opponent was lower-ranked than me but I tried not to focus on that, just give my 100 per cent – and that’s what I did.
The pre-Roland Garros tournament is the last chance to tune up on the dirt prior to Sunday’s Grand Slam start.
Andreescu has not set foot on clay since withdrawing prior to a second-round French Open contest in 2019 against Sofia Kenin.
The Candian top seed and 2019 US Open winner, has been plagued by injuries for most of the intervening months and was also sidelined like the rest of the Tour for five months in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
Andreescu needed just 61 minutes to dispatch her 279th ranked opponent from Spain.
The injury-prone Canadian seed was competing for the first time in nearly two months after quitting with a foot injury against Ash Barty in the Miami hardcourt final.
She did not play in either of the big clay run-up events in Madrid or Rome and is hoping to make an impression at this week’s 250 level.
The inexperienced 20-year-old from Toronto stayed alive in her comeback with five breaks of the Spaniard’s serve.
2016 Strasbourg champion Caroline Garcia defeated Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-2 to advance. Swiss Jil Teichmann beat Russian Anna Blinkov 6-3, 6-2.