Bianca Andreescu - Seven steps towards Grand Slam glory in New York


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Bianca Andreescu - Seven steps towards Grand Slam glory in New York

Teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu has been the player to beat on hard courts in 2019, winning titles at Indian Wells, Toronto and the US Open to find herself in the top-5 on the latest WTA ranking list. Bianca has made incredible progress in the past 12 months, failing to qualify for the US Open from just outside the top-200 a year ago and improving that from the very first event in 2019 to get into the winning rhythm and stay on it ever since, winning 45 out of 49 matches this year.

Andreescu became the force to be reckoned with after lifting the trophy at Indian Wells in March, suffering a shoulder injury in Miami and playing only one tournament before Toronto where she made a perfect return. Still not at her 100%, Bianca gave her best in front of the home fans, beating six rivals to go all the way and make the entire nation proud, also standing as one of the top favorites for the crown in New York.

Unbeaten against the top-10 rivals so far in 2019, Andreescu delivered seven triumphs to earn tennis glory, conquering the first Major crown on debut at the US Open and only the fourth tournament at this level in a career.

Bianca is the first teenager with Grand Slam crown since Maria Sharapova in 2006 and the first since Monica Seles in 1990 who lifted the trophy in only the fourth Major played, passing all the obstacles and emerging victorious against Serena Williams and the entire Arthur Ashe Stadium to write history.

Bianca kicked off the campaign with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over the 17-year-old Katie Volynets in an hour and 28 minutes, dominating on the court and keeping the points on her racquet to steal half of the return points for four breaks from eight opportunities.

The American youngster stayed on the same level with Bianca in set number two in the first eight games, leading 4-3 before the Canadian grabbed 12 of the last 16 points to move into the next round with a break in game nine.

In the second round, Andreescu defeated Kirsten Flipkens 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 24 minutes, saving six out of seven break chances and delivering four strong return games to march into the third round where she faced a former world no.

1 Caroline Wozniacki. The youngster produced a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 33 minutes for the place in the last 16, making her debut in New York better and better. Both players struggled on the second serve but Bianca was the more composed player overall, covering the net beautifully and hitting 27 winners and 34 unforced errors to control the pace in the rallies, halting Caroline on 13 winners and 18 unforced errors and breaking the Dane six times from 16 opportunities!

Wozniacki gave her best to stay in touch with the better-ranked opponent, coming back a few times but staying on four breaks from five chances, failing to reach the fourth round for the fourth time in the last five years.

They kicked off the match with back-to-back breaks and it was Andreescu who delivered another one at 3-3, holding after three deuces in the next game and closing the set with a hold at 15 in game ten for a 6-4. The youngster opened a 3-0 advantage in the second set, only to lose the next three games to bring Caroline back in contention and waste another lead at 4-3, allowing the Dane to pull the break back and level the score at 4-4.

Nonetheless, the Canadian claimed eight of the last nine points to seal the deal and advance into the last 16, still looking strong despite not being at 100% physically. Defeating Taylor Townsend 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 in an hour and 55 minutes, Bianca became the 12th player to reach the quarter-final at the US Open in the first appearance following.

Townsend was the first player who took a set out of Andreescu but that wasn't enough to go through, with the Canadian dominating in sets she won to move into the last eight and set the clash against Elise Mertens who lost only 16 games in four encounters so far!

Bianca finished the match with 33 winners and 26 unforced errors, suffering three breaks and erasing that deficit with six breaks of serve of her own, taking half of the return points and ruining Taylor's plan to serve&volley and keep the points on her racquet.

Bianca broke at 15 in the second game of the match with a forehand drive-volley winner, saving three break chances in the next game and increasing the lead to 4-0 thanks to a backhand return winner. Townsend pulled one break back in game five before getting broken for the third straight time, allowing Bianca to close the set with a hold at love for a 6-1 in no time at all.

The American bounced back at the beginning of the second set, opening a 3-0 lead before Andreescu erased the deficit in game five, looking good to seal the deal in straight sets before Taylor broke her for the second time in game ten, taking the set 6-4 and setting up a decider.

There, the Canadian bounced back to notch breaks in games one and five, squandering four match points on the return in game seven and finishing the job with another hold at love a few minutes later, firing a service winner that pushed her into the last eight.

The young Canadian secured the place in the top-10 for the first time in a career after a hard-fought 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Belgian in two hours and two minutes. Mertens needed just over four and a half hours to oust the previous four rivals, giving her best against Andreescu as well but finishing on the losing side in her second Grand Slam quarter-final.

Bianca made the difference with her first serve, getting broken twice from six chances offered to Elise and having the opportunity to seal the deal much earlier, converting only four from 16 break chances after taking 42% of the points behind Mertens' serve.

The Canadian had the upper hand with 40 winners and 33 unforced errors, delivering much better tennis in the deciding set to book the spot in the semi-final where she will face Belinda Bencic. The Belgian saved a couple of break points in the first game and broke Bianca in game four to open a 3-1 lead.

Three good holds pushed Elise towards a 6-3 set, closing the opener with an ace in game nine after 38 minutes. They traded breaks early in the second set and this time it was Andreescu who had the upper hand on the return, breaking at love in game six after a powerful return and clinching the set with a forehand winner at 5-2 to gain the momentum ahead of the decider.

Dropping just six points behind the initial shot there, Bianca was the favorite to cross the finish line first and she did that after converting the seventh break point overall in the eighth game with a deep return that Elise couldn't control and moving over the top with three winners in the next game to secure the spot in the last four.

In one of the most important matches in a career for both players, Bianca battled past Belinda Bencic 7-6, 7-5 in two hours and 13 minutes, advancing into the first Major final and becoming the first player since Venus Williams in 1997 to reach the title match on debut.

Both Belinda and Bianca gave their 120% to advance and set Serena Williams clash, with an incredible battle from start to finish that lasted for two hours and 12 minutes. The Swiss had a massive opportunity to win at least one set if not score straight-sets triumph, wasting six break opportunities and a set point in the opener and squandering a 5-2 lead in the second, dropping five straight games to push Bianca through and leave empty-handed and mighty disappointed despite a great run in the last two weeks.

Bianca repelled ten out of 13 break points which kept her in contention, scoring four straight breaks on the other hand and prevailing in the pivotal moments to book the spot in the final as the first teenager since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.

The Canadian finished the match with 40 winners and 38 unforced errors, keeping the points on her racquet and drawing more errors from the Swiss in the second part of the second set to prevail and avoid the deciding set and spending more time on the court.

Belinda served well in the opener and had plenty of chances to materialize the advantage and move in front, with Andreescu fending off break points in games four, six and ten (saving a set point with a brave forehand down the line winner) and gaining the momentum ahead of the tie break that she won 7-3 after four mini-breaks on her tally.

After a dramatic escape, Bianca gained a 5-0 advantage in the breaker and closed it in the tenth point after 67 minutes of grueling battle. Keeping her focus, Belinda raced into a 5-2 lead in set number two thanks to three breaks, looking good to send the clash into a decider and keep title hopes alive.

Bianca had other plans, though, starting to hit with more intensity and pulling one break back in game eight when Bencic sprayed a forehand error. Andreescu forced a mistake from her opponent for a hold at 15 in the next game, reducing the gap and leveling the score at 5-5 with another break in game ten when Belinda hit a double fault.

With the momentum on her side, a teenager won 17 of 23 points from that eighth game, gaining a 6-5 advantage thanks to a backhand error from Bencic who was now serving to stay in the match after losing four straight games.

With all the pressure on her shoulders, Belinda got broken for the fourth time in a row, allowing Bianca to convert the third match point with a deep return and advance into the first Grand Slam final. In the clash against one of the greatest players of all time and the packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, Andreescu toppled Serena Williams 6-3, 7-5 in only an hour and 39 minutes, becoming the first player to claim the US Open title on debut and the first player since Monica Seles at Roland Garros 1990 who claimed the Major title in only the fourth try!

Reaching the final as the first teenager in New York since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009, Bianca went a step further to lift the trophy, adding her name to Maria Sharapova who was the last teenage Major champion here at the US Open 13 years ago, entering the top-5 with these points.

Chasing that 24th Major crown, Serena gave her best to reach another final but there was nothing she could do today to stop the Canadian avalanche, outplayed by a sheer power of Andreescu's shots and finishing runner-up in front of the home fans for the second year in a row despite an incredible support from the entire Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Serena played on a very high level in the first six matches and there was only a glimpse of that tonight in the second part of the second set after she saved a match point, hitting a lot of winners but also too many unforced errors against the opponent who barely put a foot wrong in the first 75 minutes, delivering her eighth top-10 win of the season in as many matches and barely showing signs of nerves in the most significant encounter in a career so far.

The American served at 45% and was never comfortable behind the initial shot, losing more than half of the points there and suffering six breaks from 12 opportunities offered to Andreescu. A teenager could have closed the match much earlier, losing ground after that match point she squandered but finding the fo and the energy to cross the finish line with a late break and join the immortals at such a young age.

The Canadian grabbed the first break of serve in the first game of the match following a double fault from Williams, wasting five more chances in game seven before delivering another break at 5-3 to close the opener in 42 minutes thanks to another double fault from Serena.

Bianca broke at love in the second game of the second set after, you guess, a double fault from the American who pulled it back in the next game to at least stay in contention. The youngster broke again in the fourth game and moved 5-1 up with another great return game, serving for the championship in the next game.

Serena fended off a match point with a return winner just 75 minutes since the beginning of the encounter, taking the momentum and pulling one break back to prolong the action and her chances. Carried by the partisan crowd, Williams held at 15 in game eight and broke back at love a few minutes later to cut the deficit to 4-5, delivering another comfortable hold for a 5-5.

Dropping 14 of the last 17 points, Bianca managed to end her downfall with a hold in game 11, earning the pivotal break a few minutes later to seal the deal with a return winner and start a massive celebration of the well-deserved first Grand Slam title.