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Bianca Andreescu won't defend title at Indian Wells

Bianca Andreescu of Canada lunges for a forehand on her way to defeating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in Rogers Cup tennis tournament quarter-final action in Toronto on Friday August 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Reigning U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu will not defend her title at the BNP Paribas Open because of a lingering left knee injury.

Andreescu dropped out of the WTA Tour Premier Mandatory event on Saturday, four days before the main draw begins. She hasn’t played a competitive match since suffering the injury in late October in China.

The 19-year-old Mississauga native has not revealed the exact nature of the injury.

“As many of you know, I’ve been working through an injury I suffered last year during the WTA Finals,” Andreescu said in a statement released on the tournament’s Twitter feed. “It’s been a long road to recovery, and while I was looking forward to getting back on court and defending my title at Indian Wells, unfortunately I’m still not 100 per cent. … I am focused on my recovery and rehab and working hard to get back on the court as soon as possible.”

The BNP Paribas Open title last year was the first of three for Andreescu after she started 2019 outside the top 150. Given a wild-card entry to the Indian Wells event after a promising start to her season, Andreescu beat Angelique Kerber of Germany in a dramatic final.

Andreescu retired from the next tournament with a shoulder injury that kept her out for an extended period, then returned in August to win the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the season’s final Grand Slam in New York.

Despite her absence from play, Andreescu has reached a Canadian record No. 4 in the world rankings, however, she could slip down the rankings after losing the points she gained a year ago when she won at Indian Wells.