Andreescu feels in 'great place' in climb back to the top

Aug 11, 2022; North York, ON, Canada; Bianca Andreescu (CAN) reacts after winning the second set against Qinwen Zheng (not pictured) during third round play of the National Bank Open at Sobeys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 12 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu feels she is on the right track to finding her way back to the top echelons of the sport again after struggling with injuries and mental health issues in the past two years.

In 2019, Andreescu won in Indian Wells and the Canadian Open at home before going on to lift her maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows.

The 22-year-old Canadian rose to a career-best ranking of fourth the same year but later struggled with injuries, never able to recover reprise the same form again.

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Andreescu, who has slipped to 53rd in the rankings, returned to the Tour in Stuttgart in April after a lengthy break to deal with mental health issues and revealed that she was close to quitting tennis.

"I think it's getting there," she said on Thursday, after going down to China's Zheng Qinwen in the third round of the Canadian Open in Toronto. "I definitely don't think I'm there yet. But I just got to keep grinding.

"If I continue to just give my best and stay really committed to this. Because I really, really want this. Especially after so much time off, taking time for myself and all those like really rough moments."

"I just feel like I'm in a great place right now. And even just me talking now I feel like last year, for instance, would be more negative. But I just, I feel so great."

Zheng, 19, is also having a breakthrough 2022. She was ranked 143rd in the world at the start of the season but cracked the top-50 in June following a run to the fourth round of the French Open in Paris.

Andreescu had plenty of encouraging words for her opponent.

"I think she's playing top-10 level right now. She's playing really, really good. I'm super happy for her," Andreescu said.

"When I was her age ... I remember just being super fearless. The players don't know you that well as well. And you kind of go out there, play fearless, no pressure. And that's what she's doing. Honestly, I think she can win the tournament if she continues like that."

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Bradley Perrett

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