NEW YORK — Bianca Andreescu beat Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 to win the U.S. Open title, earning her first Grand Slam title with a straight-set victory over the greatest player in the history of the women's game.
Andreescu, 19, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and broke Williams again at 5-3 to clinch the first set. Aided by erratic serving from Williams, Andreescu broke Williams' first two serving games in the second set and had a match point on her serve at at 5-1, but Williams was able to save it and summon the break, much to the pleasure of the Arthur Ashe crowd. She broke again and sent the crowd into a frenzy when she leveled the match at 5-5, but Andreescu was able to win the next two games to clinch the victory.
Williams was in search of her 24th major singles title, which would have tied Margaret Court's all-time record. She is now 0-4 in major finals since giving birth to her daughter in August 2017.
Here are three thoughts on Andreescu's star-is-born performance.
• It’s the U.S. Open women’s final. Bianca Andreescu has a match point on her own serve at 5-1. Serena Williams hits a return winner. Serena gets the break. Serena wins the next three games to level the second set at 5-5. The crowd of 24,000, virtually all rooting for Williams, is so loud that she has to literally cover her ears. Momentum is firmly on the 23-time champion’s side….
And 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu—in the biggest match of her ascending career—reels off the next two games. This is an encapsulation of relentless self-belief supreme self-confidence. We can talk about Andreescu’s power and variety. Her shot-of-serve-and-chaser-of-forehand, her athleticism and her ability to strategize. But it is her unshakable determination and focus that makes her so formidable. The story of the year in women’s tennis continued today as she took down the mighty Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 to win the U.S. Open. A year ago she lost in the qualifiers. Right now and she is the present of the sport, up to No. 5 in the rankings. And she is the future of the sport. She is on an open road and she doesn’t even know that exit ramps exist.
• Serena Williams is past the point in her career when she can take comfort in moral victories. This is, of course, to her credit. She’s boldly proclaimed that she’s going after to Margaret Court‘s record for majors (24) —that is what is sustaining her and driving her. Which makes today’s match un-spinnably disappointing. For the fourth time since returning from motherhood, she’s played herself into position to win a major; and then, once in the final, hasn’t been able to close. Unlike the Wimbledon final eight weeks ago, Serena was very much in the match today. But ultimately she fell to the vitality of youth. Serena could retire tomorrow and go down as an unrivaled legend. But she’s stuck on 23 Grand Slams. Who among us doesn’t admire her persistence? Who among us doesn’t hope she gets that pesky 24 in Australia in January?
• We don’t root for individual players; we root for women’s tennis. And what a strong tournament overall. Apart from cleansing the stain of last year’s final, these 127 matches serve as irrefutable proof that the sport is doing just fine, thanks. Yes, you have churn and unpredictability and the usual chasm of a draw. You also have this great diversity of style, age, ethnicity and temperament. Naomi Osaka didn’t defend her title, but revealed her growing comfort with her status. Taylor Townsend (and her stylish serve-and-volley game) transformed herself into a fan favorite. We had acts of sportsmanship. We had human interest stories. We had glimpses of a real camaraderie among the players. In the final, we had the Mighty Serena, still slugging a few days from turning 38, and a new, fearless champ. More, please.