Andreescu to return from knee injury to lead Canada in Fed Cup qualifier

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Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu carries the Canada flag. (Graham Hughes/CP)

Canada will be sending a full-strength team to Switzerland for their Fed Cup qualifier next month led by world No. 6 Bianca Andreescu.

The reigning US Open champion will be joined by Eugenie Bouchard, Leylah Annie Fernandez, and Gabriela Dabrowski.

“The girls had some good results to start the year and I now hope they will carry that energy into this tie,” Canada Fed Cup captain Heidi El Tabakh said in a statement. “Switzerland has a very tough team and will have the support of a home crowd, but I know that our team will fight until the very last ball with the goal of qualifying for the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest.”

It will be Andreescu’s ninth appearance for Canada’s Fed Cup team. She owns a 7-3 singles record and is 3-0 in doubles. Her last appearance for Canada came at last year’s World Group II quarterfinals, where she won a pair of singles matches in straight sets to help Canada defeat the Netherlands.

She was absent from Canada’s 4-0 World Group playoff loss to the Czech Republic last April.

The Fed Cup tie will serve as Andreescu’s 2020 season debut, as a lingering knee injury suffered at the WTA Finals last October forced her to delay the start to the year and withdraw from the ASB Classic in Auckland and the Australian Open.

Bouchard, currently ranked 212th in the world, will be making her return to Canada’s Fed Cup team after skipping the event in 2019. She last played for Canada in the 2018 World Group II playoffs, where she won a pair of singles matches to help Canada defeat Ukraine. The Montreal native owns a 12-4 singles record in 10 appearances at the Fed Cup.

The former world No. 5 opened her season by reaching the quarterfinals in Auckland but failed to qualify for the Australian Open.

Fernandez, 17, made her Grand Slam main draw debut last week at the Australian Open after advancing through qualifying. She will be making her second appearance for Canada at the Fed Cup. She lost her lone singles match in last year’s World Group playoff loss to the Czechs in her debut.

Dabrowski comes into the Fed Cup on the heels of a quarterfinal appearance in the women’s doubles at the Australian Open. The doubles specialist from Ottawa has a 7-6 doubles record in Fed Cup play and is the longest-serving member of this squad, having played in 13 ties since 2013 and has not missed a Fed Cup tie for Canada since February 2017.

The tie will be held on hard courts in Biel, Switzerland on Feb. 8 and 9. Canada leads the head-to-head 3-2, but Switzerland won the last meeting back in 2004.

A victory against the Swiss would see Canada qualify for the inaugural Fed Cup Finals being held in Budapest, Hungary in April. The Fed Cup is following the lead of the Davis Cup, reorganizing the event into a one-week tournament played in one location for the first time this year.

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