September 25, 2020

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Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu's debut as a pro in 2017 at the Citi Open was a big success. (Stephanie Myles/Opencourt.ca)

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The Citi Open in Washington, D.C. was supposed to be going on this week – the men’s part at least.

But the tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns.

(The women relocated to Kentucky where, as fate would have it, they are indeed playing and boast a spectacular field).

With that, we’ll fire up a few flashbacks to previous years at this friendly and quality medium-sized event.

First up: Bianca Andreescu’s pro debut in 2017.

Andreescu, who had stuttered to the finish of her junior career because of injury, turned pro that summer, just as she turned 17.

She kicked off her Grand Slam career at Wimbledon where, ranked No. 188, she won three qualifying matches and reached the main draw.

Wild card in D.C.

A few weeks later, ranked No. 167, she received a wild card into the Citi Open on the basis of her new management company, Octagon, owning the women’s event.

She also met her agent for the first time – it was a quick, “Hey, I’m your agent. Get in touch if you need anything” kind of deal. No one could imagine he’d get so busy, in such short order.

But Andreescu was ready.

She beat the dangerous Camila Giorgi in three sets in the first round. And then, she upset the No. 2 seed (and world No. 11) Kristina Mladenovic – ushering the Frenchwoman off to a fairly lengthy losing streak.

Andreescu played both singles and doubles in her “pro” debut at the 2017 Citi Open.

Ultimately, she lost to the experienced Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals after taking a tough first set.

The biggest challenge Andreescu had was that the tournament laundry did a little shrink job on her red Nike dresses. She had plenty more at home. But she had to finish out the week showing a WHOLE lot of Nike shortie.

All in all, though, it was a great week (even if the injury gremlin ended up hitting the next year, and halted her momentum temporarily. A familiar story).

Here’s Andreescu after that loss to Petrovic. All enthousiasm and energy and honesty.

Andreescu ended up getting a wild card into the Rogers Cup, which was held in her Toronto hometown that year, when Maria Sharapova first showed signs of the arm issue that ultimately ended her career and withdrew. She lost in the first round to Timea Babos.

Two years later, she won it.