Serena Williams 1“I’ve really strived to be like her,” she said of Williams, “and who knows? Maybe I can be even better.”

Teenager takes the women’s title

By Roger Childs

The expectation of the sell-out crowd at Flushing Meadows, New York, was that the veteran Serena Williams would win her 24th grand slam against the inexperienced Bianca Andreescu. The 19 year old Canadian had not been born when Serena won her first grand slam and was bidding to break Canada’s duck at this top level in world tennis. Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic have reached grand slam finals but failed to win.

Bianca Andreescu 1Williams walked on to the court with a touch of arrogance as if she would win by turning up. She started with an ace, but it was downhill from there. She lost her first service game and Andreescu raced through to win the first set 6-3. The Canadian had the more reliable serve, placed her shots well and was faster round the court. Williams got less than half of her first serves in and although she produced a number of winners she made far too many unforced errors.

Andreescu was up 5-1 in the second set and had two match points, but the American fought back playing her best with powerful first serves going in and plenty of winners from well placed ground strokes, to even the score  at 5-5. However the Canadian regained her composure and won the next two games and the match.

A stellar season for the teenager

Bianca AndreescuAndreescu played in the Auckland ASB tournament with a world ranking of 78. Unexpectedly,  she beat Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams to reach the final where Julia Goerges prevailed in three sets.

Winning a minor tournament at Newport Beach in late January brought her ranking down to 68 and then she had a major breakthrough in taking the prestigious Indian Wells tournament against three time grand slam winner, Angelique Kerber. 

Her next significant success was in the Canadian Open in August, where she took the trophy when Serena Williams was forced to retire. This victory earned her a ranking of 15 for the US Open. The rest is recent history.

At 19 she is youngest women’s player to win the US Open since Maria Sharapova, at the same age, took the grand slam in 2009. Her success on Saturday will now rank her in the top ten and no doubt she will improve on this in the future.

The future for the finalists

US Open 2019 2Serena Williams is one of the greatest players of all time and has been desperately wanting to  equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slams. However, time is running out. She will be 38 in a fortnight and hasn’t won a major since the beginning of 2017, even though she has been in four finals. She is now in the twilight of her tennis career and it’s hard to see her winning another.

Meanwhile Bianca Andreescu is half her age and in the early stages of her professional journey. She is tall, strong and fast with a powerful serve, quality ground strokes, excellent placement skills and sharp speed around the court. If she can keep her focus and fitness more grand slams are there for the taking.