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Canadian Tennis Phenom Bianca Andreescu Fends Off Serena • To Triumph At The 2019 U.S. OPEN

By Ricky Dimon

Bianca Andreescu was already the breakout star of the WTA Tour in 2019, but she had not yet put it all together at a Grand Slam.

The 19-year-old did just that at the U.S. Open on Saturday afternoon, beating Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 for her first major title. Andreescu wobbled only for a four-game stretch after leading 5-1 in the second, at which point she recovered to take the final two games and triumph in one hour and 40 minutes.

“I had some doubts because I’ve witnessed her come back from being 5-0 down, 5-1 down, 5-2 down,” the Canadian commented. “I just told myself to stick with my tactics. She started playing much better. I think the crowd really helped her, as well.

“I was blocking out the noise, or trying to. I could barely hear myself think really. It was really, really loud. But I guess that’s what makes this tournament so special. I’m sure it’s really nice for the Americans to come on that court. I’ve heard a lot of cheering from other people for me, so I’m really happy with that. But it definitely wasn’t easy, especially when she started coming back in the second set. I mean, it was expected. She’s a champion. That’s what champions do. She’s done that many, many times throughout her career. But I just tried to stay as composed as I could. It’s hard to just block everything out, but I think I did a pretty good job at that.”

Andreescu got plenty of help for Williams, too. The 23-time Grand Slam champion served at a mere 44 percent and double-faulted eight times. She doubled to get broken in the opening game of the match, again to end the first set, and twice more at 5-6 in the second.

“(It’s definitely disappointing,” Williams admitted. “I felt like I could have done so many things a little bit better. But she played really well, and she deserves this championship.

“I was thinking, ‘Okay, Serena, you didn’t miss a serve, you lost serve maybe twice in the whole tournament, and you didn’t hit a first serve in today, so….’ That was obviously on my mind, like how do I play at a level like this in a final? Again, I think Bianca obviously played well. I think her returns make me play better and puts pressure on my serve. At the same time it’s inexcusable for me to play at that level.”

Williams is now 0-4 in slam finals since returning from the birth of her first child in 2017. She lost to Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final earlier this summer, to Naomi Osaka in last year’s controversial U.S. Open final, and to Angelique Kerber last summer at the All-England Club–all in straight sets.

But for now the story is Andreescu, who has all the potential to be a world No. 1.

“I never really thought about being famous,” the teenager explained. “My goals have been to just win as many Grand Slams as possible, become No. 1 in the world. But the idea of fame never really crossed my mind. I’m not complaining, though. It’s been a crazy ride this year. I can definitely get used to this feeling.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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