Nineteen-year-old Bianca Andreescu denied Serena Williams her 24th Grand Slam title on Saturday, claiming victory with a score of 6-3, 7-5 in a nail-biting final.
Andreescu has become the first Canadian ever to win a Grand Slam singles title, and it was the first of her career. She also managed to achieve the win despite much of the crowd apparently cheering for Williams.
“I know you guys wanted Serena to win, so I'm sorry,” Andreescu told reporters after the match. “Obviously it was expected for Serena to fight back, she's done that so many times in the past and that's why she's a true champion on and off the court. But I just tried my best to block everything out and the last game wasn't easy,” she said.
During the final, Andreescu was seen covering her ears on the court as the crowd roared in support of Williams.
“Bianca played an unbelievable match,” Williams told reporters after the final. “If anyone could win the tournament, outside of Venus, I’m happy it’s Bianca.”
“I wish I could have played better,” she said.
Andreescu’s win came after what looked like it would be a stunning comeback by Williams, 37. Andreescu had the match point twice prior to winning the match, but Williams didn’t give up without a fight.
Stakes were high for the final, as Williams would have tied the all-time record for Grand Slam wins. The current record holder is Margaret Court with 24 wins.
Williams, the tournament’s No. 8 seed, has failed in three prior attempts to secure a 24th major title since returning from an extended absence after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia.
Williams has made a name for herself not only through unparalleled athletic prowess but also dramatic comebacks in high-stakes matches. En route to her first Grand Slam title in 1999, she surged from a 3-5 deficit in the final set against another future world number one, Kim Clijsters. Her most recent late-stage upset came at the 2018 French Open when she came from behind, again in the third set and just months after giving birth, to beat Australian Ashleigh Barty.
Saturday’s U.S. Open final against Andreescu nearly added to the list as Williams ate up the 5-1 advantage Andreescu established in the second set, eventually tying things at 5-5 before her opponent regained momentum and won.
Williams and her sister Venus have for more than two decades ranked among the best tennis players in the world. A changing of the guard may be at hand, however, after Serena’s loss to 19-year-old Andreescu: Venus, 39, lost to 15-year-old American player Cori “Coco” Gauff at Wimbledon in July.
Williams lost the final last year to Naomi Osaka, amid a heated exchange with chair umpire Carlos Ramos over receiving coaching.
Andreescu, a rising star from Canada, has compiled a 44-4 record this year. She has not lost a completed match since March.