The look on Bianca Andreescu’s face said it all.
Pulled massively out of position on her forehand side, the point looked lost. Garbine Muguruza was closing on the net and all Andreescu could do was lunge and attempt a squash-style shot to at least get the ball back in play.
The result was far better than anyone expected. Certainly far better than Andreescu expected, judging by the shocked look on her face as the ball flew past Muguruza and the crowd rose to their feet to applaud.
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It was one of the points of the year – against one of the players of the year – and helped Andreescu claim her biggest win in over a year. Her biggest since winning the US Open in 2019.
"I'm just super, super happy," said Andreescu, who is still on the comeback trail after winning her maiden major at Flushing Meadows.
She only played six more matches that year before having to withdraw from the season-ending WTA Finals due to a knee injury. Her appearance at the Australian Open last month was the first time she has played since then, having missed 2020 due to injuries and disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Canadian lost in the second round in Melbourne but showed better form as she made the semi-finals at the follow-up Phillip Island Trophy. There were then concerns over her fitness after she pulled out of events in the Middle East, but her form this week at the Miami Open has suggested the Andreescu of 2019 could be back.
She showed huge fighting spirit to come through against Muguruza, having battled past Amanda Anisimova in three sets less than 24 hours earlier.
Muguruza was on an eight-match winning streak and looked poised to take control after winning the opening set and getting to 15-40 on the Andreescu serve at 1-1 in the second set. But the Canadian turned things around in spectacular style, winning nine of the next 11 games to swing the momentum firmly in her favour.
"I felt like I was going too much on her forehand in the first set, so I kind of regrouped and I tried to pick what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong," explained Andreescu.
"I just told myself, 'Okay, her backhand is still really good but I'll pick on that a little bit more.' That made a big difference."
It wasn't just Andreescu's on-court thinking that impressed. The 20-year-old, who is now 22-2 in her last five WTA 1000 events, said after her previous win over Anisimova that she is "trying to find ways to push through on my off days…I think that's what makes a really good player".
Against Muguruza she showed all her qualities – resilience, power, clever touch, squash-shot winners – and the performance suggests she is soon going to be a force on the WTA Tour again.
"It's always satisfying getting that three-setter, especially after losing the first set. So to me what I was super happy about that match was how, even when I'm down, and I knew this about myself," she said.
"Even when I'm down, I know I can find a way. Most of the time, not all of the time. Most of the time, I can always find a way and come back and do really, really well. I keep proving that to myself, and it's really nice to get that under my belt. I felt super, super pumped the whole match, considering everything that's been happening."
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After beating the Spanish No 1, Andreescu will next face the Spanish No 2, Sara Sorribes Tormo, for a place in the semi-finals.
"She's a crazy fighter. I want to go out there and fight even harder and hopefully I can do good things... I feel like this tournament I'm just going with the flow and just having fun out there. It's really showing, and I want to continue like that because that's when I play my best tennis."
Whether Andreescu wins or not, this has already been a big week for her. The top of the WTA is stacked with talent – as shown this week in Miami – and Andreescu looks like she is going to be part of it for the years ahead.
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