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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday March 14, 2023

After playing her heart out in an entertaining third-round tussle with World No.1 Iga Swiatek, Bianca came into her post-match press conference in a good mood. She wasn’t devastated by the 6-3, 7-6(1), loss. Instead, she saw positives in her performance, which featured many brilliant moments, and was probably closer than the scoreline suggests.

Tennis Express

“I thought it was really fun, there were definitely some crazy points. I think I played tennis, she just – Iga’s Iga right now - she’s on some trip,” Andreescu said with a smile.

Andreescu, the 2019 champion at the BNP Paribas Open, has had her share of injury troubles and other issues that have prevented her from remaining at the top of the sport. But when we see her air out her wonderfully diverse, electric game, like she did on Monday night in the California desert, we can’t help dream about a future that includes many more compelling Swiatek vs. Andreescu moments.

“It’s definitely up there, I’m super proud of myself, but it is frustrating not getting that win, but it does motivate me that much more,” Andreescu continued. “I definitely surprised myself on certain shots that I was getting to – I know the crowd loved it, so it was definitely entertaining.” Andreescu said she believed she could compete with Swiatek before she took the court – that itself is an achievement in these days of lopsided victories by the world No.1.

“I felt actually, pretty confident going in, I know I’m training well, I’m preparing well mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – all that so I know that my game was definitely going to level up to hers,” she said. “I didn't know she was going to play that well, but that’s what you have to expect from the World No.1.”

What was it that made Swiatek so tough to contend with? Pretty much everything, says Andreescu, who has now lost all four sets she has played against the Pole, taking two of those sets to tiebreaks.

“She literally does not miss,” Andreescu said. “You could hit any shot in the world and she literally will not miss, she’ll find a way to get to it, to put it exactly where she wants it. That’s what she was doing, she was returning pretty well, serving pretty well – she just has a good overall game.”

What could Andreescu have done differently? She was quick to answer.

“Definitely take my chances when I had them, I had a few break points in the first set, even in the second set,” she said. “I was up 4-2, 40-15, little things like that make a huge difference. Tactic-wise I think I did pretty good. Maybe a bit more aggressive, taking the ball a bit earlier when it was coming short.”

And what of that second set tiebreak, that ended the match with a fierce run from the defending champion. A final exclamation point to end a match that had its share of question marks.

“Complete domination,” Andreescu said. “I did not feel like I played much less or much more than I played the whole match, she just pounced on every ball. I think I missed two shots to give her those two points, which is definitely important in a tiebreak.”

Finally, Andreescu was asked what she needed to do to start winnin sets, and maybe even a match against Iga the invincible.

“Just continue what I’m doing off the court, in the gym, on the court, just preparing really well,” she said. “I’m definitely going to study this match and I know that I can definitely beat her at one point, I’m sure we’re going to have many more matches.”