Canada's Bianca Andreescu plays a shot against Italy's Jasmine Paolini during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday, June 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Bianca Andreescu falls in Libema Open final

After advancing to her first final of the season, Bianca Andreescu finished as the runner-up at the Libema Open on Sunday in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

Andreescu, who turned 24 on Sunday, faced a hard-fought battle against No. 2 seed Liudmila Samsonova in the championship match, ultimately conceding in a three-set encounter, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7. Despite claiming the first set, the Canadian couldn’t withstand Samsonova’s rally, concluding her grass court tune-up tournament ahead of Wimbledon.

Andreescu didn’t manage to capitalize on her early lead as World No. 15 Samsonova came back from a set down to win her first title since 2022 and improve to five career titles. The match lasted two hours and 34 minutes.

After securing the first break of the match in the third game, Andreescu immediately surrendered in the fourth. Undeterred, she capitalized on another break opportunity in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. From there, Andreescu maintained her serve and clinched the first set.

Trailing, Samsonova swiftly countered by securing an early break and establishing a 3-0 lead in the second set. Although Andreescu managed a crucial break in the fifth game, Samsonova maintained her composure, breaking the Canadian again in the sixth game to lead 4-2. Samsonova then confidently held serve in the seventh and eighth games to clinch the second set and force a decisive third.

Samsonova continued her momentum by breaking Andreescu early in the third, for a 3-1 advantage. Despite Andreescu’s effort to level the set with a break in the eighth game, she struggled to maintain her serve, conceding another break to Samsonova in the 11th game. This break allowed Samsonova to lead 6-5 and secure victory on her serve in the subsequent game.

Andreescu advanced to the final with a semifinal match win over Hungary’s Dalma Galfi in straight sets of 6-4, 6-2. Playing her fourth match at a tournament for the first time since the 2023 Miami Open, Andreescu was in charge from start to finish.

She won 60 per cent of points on both her first and second serves while keeping Galfi under constant pressure. Converting opportunities was the difference in the match. Andreescu converted four of her five break-point chances, while Galfi only broke the Canadian’s serve once on four opportunities. 

“It feels great,” Andreescu said after the match. “I believe that all the hard work that I’m putting in and the perseverance and never giving up is really paying off.”

Andreescu defeated four-time Grand Slam title winner Naomi Osaka of Japan in a quarterfinal matchup on Friday.

This is just the second tournament Andreescu has played this season after returning from an extended injury layoff. The former US Open Champion has not lifted a trophy since winning her first major title in September 2019. Her last final came on the grass two years ago in Bad Homburg.

Currently ranked No.228, Andreescu’s progress this week will boost her firmly back inside the Top 200.