NEW YORK (AP) — Bianca Andreescu displayed the same brand of big-serving, big-hitting, in-your-face tennis that Serena Williams usually does.
And now the 19-year-old from Canada is a Grand Slam champion, earning her first such title while preventing Williams from collecting a record-tying 24th.
Andreescu took charge early in the U.S. Open final, going up by a set and two breaks, then held off a late charge by Williams to win 6-3, 7-5 for the championship Saturday night.
This is the second year in a row that Williams has lost in the final at Flushing Meadows. This one had none of the controversy of 2018, when she got into an extended argument with the chair umpire while being beaten by Naomi Osaka.
She has now been the runner-up at four of the seven majors she has entered since returning to the tour after having a baby two years ago. The 37-year-old American remains stuck on 23 Grand Slam singles title, one shy of Margaret Court’s mark for the most in history.
Andreescu went up 5-1 in the second set and served for the victory there, even holding a match point at 40-30. But Williams erased that with a forehand return winner off a 105 mph serve.
That launched a four-game run for Williams, who broke Andreescu again to make it 5-all. The Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd was overwhelmingly supporting Williams, not surprisingly, and spectators got so loud as she tried to put together a successful comeback that Andreescu covered her ears with her hands after one point.
Suddenly, this was a contest.
Or so it seemed.
But as well as Andreescu handled everything — herself, her far-more-experienced and successful opponent, and even the moment — Williams was far from her best, especially while serving. She got broken for the sixth time in the final game.
The 19-year-old Andreescu is the first woman to win the trophy at Flushing Meadows in her main-draw tournament debut in the Open era, which started in 1968 when professionals were allowed into Grand Slam tournaments. She only has participated in four majors in her brief career.
Just think: A year ago, Andreescu was losing in the opening round of qualifying.
On Saturday, there she was, putting her hands on her head, dropping her racket and then pumping her fists when it ended. After a hug from a smiling Williams at the net, Andreescu kissed the blue court and rolled onto her back, soaking in the applause.