Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu claimed her first Grand Slam title in a hard-hitting and nerve-jangling 6-3 7-5 win over Serena Williams on Saturday.
The win was an upset which also put the brakes on the American’s bid to equal the all-time record.
Andreescu matched Williams’ power throughout the slugfest and kept her composure under intense pressure to fend off a late comeback from the six-times U.S. Open champion.
The 19-year-old dropped her racket after hitting a blistering forehand return winner on match-point to seal victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium and collapsed on her back after embracing her defeated opponent.
“It’s so hard to explain (what the win means) in words,” Andreescu said on-court.
“I’m just beyond grateful and truly blessed. I’ve worked really, really hard for this moment and I can’t complain. This year has been a dream come true,” she added before collecting her $3.85 million winner’s cheque.
“And now to be able to play on this stage against Serena, a true legend of the sport, is amazing.”
Andreescu, the first Canadian to win a major in the professional era, prevented Williams from equaling Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
Williams, who has been denied the milestone in four slam finals since claiming her last major title at the Australian Open in 2017, was gracious in defeat.
“Bianca played an unbelievable match,” she said.
“Congratulations, I’m so proud and happy for you. I wish I could have played better.”
The fearless Andreescu pressured Williams from the outset, electing to receive after winning the coin toss and immediately breaking her childhood idol.
Shouting “come on” after winning key points, Andersen’s vicious forehand kept Williams on the back foot.
Costly errors, including a double fault on set-point in the first, put the American in an early hole.
With her back against the wall trailing 5-1 and facing championship point, Williams mounted a spirited comeback to draw level at 5-5.
It led to deafening roars from the packed crowd in the biggest tennis stadium in the world.
Yet Andreescu, who covered her ears at times, regained her steely composure to cross the finish line.(Reuters/NAN)