Teenager Bianca Andreescu topples record-chasing Serena in US Open final to script history - GulfToday

Teenager Bianca Andreescu topples record-chasing Serena in US Open final to script history

Andreescu topples record-chasing Serena in US Open final to script history

Bianca Andreescu poses with the trophy after defeating Serena Williams (unseen) in the final of the US Open in New York on Saturday. Associated Press

Teenager Bianca Andreescu became Canada’s first Grand Slam singles champion on Saturday with a rollercoaster 6-3, 7-5 win over 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the US Open final.

The 19-year-old Andreescu became the youngest Grand Slam winner since Svetlana Kuznetsova at the 2004 US Open, handing Serena a fourth consecutive defeat in the final of a major to again deny her a record-equaling 24th Slam title.

“It’s so hard to explain in words but I’m just beyond grateful and truly blessed. I’ve worked really, really hard for this moment,” said Andreescu, who had won just two Grand Slam matches ahead of her US Open main draw debut. She improved her record over top-10 opponents this season to 8-0 and will rise to a career-high ranking of fifth on Monday.

Bianca-Serena-750 Bianca Andreescu poses with the trophy after she won against Serena Williams at the 2019 US Open in New York. AFP

“This year has been a dream come true. Being able to play on this stage against Serena, a true legend of the sport, is amazing.

“It wasn’t easy at all. I tried to prepare my best like I do every match, I tried not to focus on who I’m playing. I’m really proud of how I dealt with everything.”

Andreescu tied Monica Seles, who lifted the 1990 Roland Garros trophy in her fourth major, for the record as the fastest player to win her first Slam title in the Open era.

Serena, 37, suffered a second finals loss in a row at Flushing Meadows, after a 2018 defeat against Naomi Osaka best remembered for a furious tirade against chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

“Bianca played an unbelievable match, I am so proud and happy for you. It was incredible tennis out there. If anyone could win this, outside of Venus, I’m happy it’s Bianca,” Serena said.

Bianca-trophy-750 Bianca Andreescu of Canada poses with her trophy at the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center. AFP

Appearing in a 33rd Grand Slam final, and fourth since the last of her 23 major titles, Williams made an inauspicious start at Arthur Ashe Stadium by conceding her opening service game with successive double faults.

Andreescu, who wasn’t even born when Williams won her maiden Slam at the 1999 US Open, responded with a comfortable hold, a pattern that repeated itself until the Canadian threatened to run away with the opening set.

Serving at 2-4, Williams erased five break points with a combination of aces and booming groundstrokes but Andreescu was knocking on the door once more as the American served to stay in the set.

A forehand winner earned the youngster a set point, and Serena duly her gifted her the opener with another double fault.

Andreescu had failed to even reach the main draw at Flushing Meadows the past two years, twice falling in the first qualifying round, and her confidence continued to flow as she surged 2-0 ahead in the second – Serena again doubled-faulting on break point.

That prompted forlorn looks from the Serena box, where her close friend Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was seated alongside sister Venus and fashion titan Anna Wintour.

The American carved out four opportunities to hit back the following game, benefiting from a huge stroke of luck when a forehand brushed the tape and trickled over to haul herself back on serve.

Bianca-750 Bianca Andreescu reacts as she wins against Serena Williams. AFP

Undeterred, Andreescu promptly regained the initiative with another break and looked to be marching towards the title when she followed a routine hold by again breaking the Serena serve for a 5-1 lead.

Andreescu brought up championship point in the ensuing game, but Serena smacked a forehand winner to stay alive and then rattled off 14 of 17 points to peg her opponent back at 5-all.

“I was just fighting at that point, just trying to stay out there a little bit longer,” said Serena, feeding off the energy of 24,000 cheering fans as she briefly sparked hopes of an incredible comeback.

“The fans started cheering so hard it made me start playing a little bit better and fighting a little bit more.”

The Canadian stemmed the bleeding by holding for 6-5 and an errant Serena backhand handed Andreescu two more shots at the title. Serena saved the first with an ace but Andreescu secured victory on the next with a blistering forehand return.

Agence France-Presse