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US Open 2019: Canada’s Bianca Andreescu Makes History, Stuns Serena Williams To Claim A Grand Slam Title

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 08 Sep, 2019

    Bianca Andreescu is the U.S. Open champion.

     

    The Mississauga, Ont., teenager downed tennis great Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 on Saturday to become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title.

     

    The 19-year-old used her powerful forehand — and was helped by an uncharacteristically bad service game from the veteran Williams — for her third tournament win of the season, and biggest by far of her career, in her first U.S. Open main draw appearance.

     

    Andreescu converted on her third championship point of the match, breaking Williams with a forehand return before ecstatically sprawling belly-up on the court.

     

    Then she got up, climbed a ladder to get to her players' box and embraced coach Sylvain Bruneau and her mom and dad.

     
     

    Seeded No. 15 at the major, Andreescu will reach a career high No. 5 when the new WTA rankings are released Monday. She also earned $3.85 million US for the victory and improved to 8-0 against top 10 opponents — all this year.

     

    Andreescu put her hands over her mouth in awe after the match when the on-court interviewer mentioned that she was the first Canadian to win a major.

     

    "It's so hard to explain in words but I'm beyond grateful," Andreescu told him. "I worked really hard for this moment.

     

    "This year has been a dream come true and being able to play on this stage against Serena, a true legend in this sport, is amazing."

     
     

    Andreescu's father, teary-eyed in the crowd, was shown filming the post-match interview and trophy presentation on his cell phone.

     

    While there was a loud applause from the crowd when Andreescu was introduced before the match, the ovation for Williams was deafening.

     

    Andreescu said she had to fight off the crowd noise at times, especially when she saw her 5-1 lead evaporate in the second set.

     

    "I know you guys wanted Serena to win so I'm so sorry," she said on the court.

     

    It wasn't a pretty match for Williams, who struggled on her serve throughout, with her first-serve percentage dipping to 25 at one point in the second set.

     
     

    But the 23-time Grand Slam champion showed fight late, staving off one championship point and breaking Andreescu two straight times to tie the set 5-5 and send the crowd of 26,191 at Arthur Ashe Stadium into a frenzy.

     

    The No. 8-seeded Williams won her first U.S. Open title here 20 years ago — before Andreescu was born.

     

    Saturday's match lasted 1 hour 40 minutes, about 80 minutes longer than their last meeting, at the Rogers Cup final in Toronto last month.

     

    Andreescu won that title when Williams retired with a back injury. The Canadian was leading 3-1.

     

    Andreescu, who began the year ranked No. 152, headed into the U.S. Open after a stellar season that included her first two titles.

     
     

    She has been one of the best Canadian sports stories of the year, garnering praise from the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Steve Nash, and Kia Nurse. Even Billie Jean King, whose name adorns the tennis centre where the U.S. Open is played, has tweeted about Andreescu multiple times.

     

    All this for a player who didn't even make it out of the qualifying round at Flushing Meadows in 2018.

     

    A year later, Andreescu rode her aggressive style to a championship, downing Katie Volynets, Kirsten Flipkens, No. 19-seed Caroline Wozniacki, Taylor Townsend, No. 25-seed Elise Merten and the No. 13 Belinda Bencic to become the first teenager to win the U.S. Open since Maria Sharapova in 2006.

     

    She attacked from the beginning Saturday, breaking Williams twice in the first set — in the first game and on a double fault to end the set — while facing just one break point.

     

    Williams double-faulted again to give Andreescu another break and a 2-0 lead to start the second set. The American responded by breaking Andreescu for the first time, but then lost her next serve as the Canadian built a 5-1 advantage.

     
     

    Williams, whose disappointment was etched on her face during parts of the match, remains one major victory short of tying Margaret Court's 24 titles.

     

    She is also still looking for her first championship — major or otherwise — after returning from the birth of her daughter. Williams had won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and returned to the WTA tour at Indian Wells in March of 2018.

     
     

    Williams had looked otherworldly throughout the U.S. Open, carving up opponents starting with Sharapova in the first round. She also notched the quickest victory of the tournament, a 44-minute one-sided quarterfinal win over China's Wang Qiang.

     

    Andreescu was the first Canadian woman to play in a Grand Slam final since Eugenie Bouchard competed for the Wimbledon title in 2014.

     
     

    #SheTheNorth was trending on Twitter during and after the match. Andreescu's achievement was recognized by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among others.

     

    The 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors, who use 'We The North' as their team hashtag, also congratulated Andreescu with a tweet that read 'She The Champ' accompanied by a photo of an Andreescu Raptors jersey laying next to the Larry O'Brien trophy.

     
     

    ROMANIAN CANADIANS PROUDLY CHEER ON BIANCA ANDREESCU’S RISE TO STARDOM

     

    Members of the Romanian-Canadian community proudly charting Bianca Andreescu’s meteoric rise to sports stardom say the tennis phenom has earned her place among the greats, regardless of how Saturday’s historic match turns out.

     

    Fans will watch with bated breath when the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., plays Serena Williams in the U.S. Open women’s singles final. If she wins, she’ll become the first Canadian to win the title.

     

    Members of the Romanian-Canadian community proudly charting Bianca Andreescu’s meteoric rise to sports stardom say the tennis phenom has earned her place among the greats, regardless of how Saturday’s historic match turns out.

     
     

    Fans will watch with bated breath when the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., plays Serena Williams in the U.S. Open women’s singles final. If she wins, she’ll become the first Canadian to win the title.

     

    “She lives here, she was born here, she grew up here, and I think that adds another level of admiration,” Onose said. “I think she’s stolen many hearts among the Romanian-Canadian community. We’re all really proud of her.”

     

    Onose, who will take in Saturday’s game at a Tennis Canada viewing party in Toronto, said Andreescu has only been on her radar for a year or so. But even in that short time, she said, watching her rise has been thrilling.

     
     

    Last month, Andreescu took home the Rogers Cup in Toronto after Williams retired due to injury.

     

    At the end of 2018, Andreescu was ranked 178th in the world. Ahead of Saturday’s match, she was 14th _ and win or lose, she’ll break into the top 10 by tournament’s end.

     

    Watching Andreescu play is nothing new for Bogdan Stanescu, who is president of the Ontario Romanian Canadian Association and an avid tennis player. He said he’s had the chance to watch her practice on several occasions over the years.

     

    “It’s amazing to see the progress of this young lady,” he said, hailing her dedication and hard work.

     

    He said it’s exciting to now watch her play at viewing parties, surrounded by dozens of others. His organization helped plan a viewing party at a Toronto pub on Thursday night where a crowd of like-minded fans cheered Andreescu on together.

     
     

    “We’re very proud of her and the achievement she has done for Canada and for the Romanian community,” he said.

     

    Stanescu said he believes Andreescu’s success will usher in a new era of Romanian-Canadian tennis greats.

     

    “The Romanian tennis players in Canada and Ontario, we’ll see quite a few of them in the near future,” he said.

     

    But pride in Andreescu extends well beyond the relatively small Romanian-Canadian community _ roughly 240,000 people identified as having Romanian heritage in the last census.

     

    The athlete’s success prompted the trending hashtag “SheTheNorth” _ a play on the Toronto Raptors’ “We the North” slogan that was everywhere during the team’s championship run earlier this year.

     
     

    Hazel McCallion, the former longtime mayor of Andreescu’s hometown of Mississauga, Ont., said she thinks Andreescu is “super!”

     

    “The city has sponsored tennis programs in Mississauga for years to give the young people an opportunity to excel in tennis, and finally we’ve found a winner,” the 98-year-old McCallion said.

     

    The city’s current mayor has also been excited about the teen’s success.

     

    “Our city has been cheering her on from the very, very beginning, and we’ve been watching her star rise over the past few years,” Bonnie Crombie said in an interview. “We’re now beyond excited that she’s made it all the way to the U.S. Open.”

     
     

    Crombie noted that she had the opportunity to meet Andreescu after the Rogers Cup, and was impressed by how deftly she balanced her compassion with her competitive streak.

     

    “I was so proud of the integrity she showed and the sportsmanship she displayed,” she said.

     

    Crombie said her schedule is packed on Saturday, but she’s trying to rearrange things so that she can end the day at a sports bar to take in the game. Her efforts to stream the game in the city’s Celebration Square were unfruitful, she said, because someone had already booked the venue.

     

    “I want to encourage everyone to watch from home or from their favourite sports bar tomorrow, and cheer loudly so that hopefully she can hear us all the way in New York,” she said.

     
     
     
     
     
     

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