19-year-old Bianca oozed class and world-class potential to win her maiden Grand Slam with a straight-sets victory over heavy favourite Serena. The Canadian also becomes the youngest female teenager since Svetlana Kuznetsova (19y, 76d) back in 2004 to win a Grand Slam trophy.
It’s happened again. Four successive Grand Slam Final defeats for Serena Williams, who must be wondering how and more importantly when she can overcome the latest hurdle to match Margaret Court’s 24-title haul. With that being said, Andreescu hasn’t lost a match she hasn’t had to default through injury since mid-March. So why should this result be surprising?
Serena turns 38 later this month and isn’t getting any younger. Naomi Osaka (twice), Simona Halep and now Bianca have all prevailed in straight-sets wins against the best female player of all-time, hailing the opportunity to play (and defeat) such a legendary figure to do so.
However, it’s more than that. The manner of her losses, particularly emphatic and fairly startling from a neutral perspective, have shown that with age, she’s become more vulnerable. It’s why she plays less tournaments year-long, to preserve her schedule and maintain high fitness levels around Grand Slam season, whether that be January or the American’s birth month.
Andreescu (19y, 83d) prevailed in one hour, 41 minutes. She responded well to a particularly tricky situation, having seen a championship point saved at 5-1 in the second set. Serena, fired up by an unapologetically partisan crowd, won four successive games. Her serving percentages had improved significantly and the teenager was suddenly the player looking tense.
That was understandable. Crucially, she survived the Serena storm and excelled during decisive moments. It’s been an ongoing theme for the Romanian-born Canadian over this past fortnight.
Perspective needed, Andreescu’s win widens the field
What’s more scary, is the fact that this is Bianca’s first in a lot of categories. First slam final, the first year she’s surpassed the second-round and become the first Canadian to win a major. This latest win will propel her to a career-high world number five, surpassing Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and a mere 11 ranking points behind last year’s US champ.
Somewhere, 25-year-old Eugenie Bouchard will wonder what could have been for her. Currently though, the future for women’s tennis is exciting and more intriguing prospect than the ATP tour. Osaka (21) is already a two-time GS champion, while Belinda Bencic (22) reached her first semi-final – before being downed 7-6, 7-5 by the eventual winner here.
Elsewhere, Aryna Sabalenka (21), Sofia Kenin and Markéta Vondroušová (both 20) and Amanda Anisimova (18) lead the chasing pack of youngsters clamouring to achieve soaring heights. That’s without mentioning the fearless Cori Gauff (15) and her doubles partner Caty McNally (17), who stunned Serena and came close to beating her in the second-round last week.
Statistic: S. Williams recorded an impressive 33 winners but also 33 unforced errors in the defeat
It was far from the most entertaining slam final you’ll watch this decade, but the phrase changing of the guard again has earned its way into the conversation again. Bianca’s aggressive style bares similarities to that of Serena and given this spectacle boasted the largest age gap in Open Era history, it speaks volumes for the tantalising potential which lies ahead.
Bianca on her victory: “It’s so crazy, man. I’ve been dreaming of this moment for the longest time. A couple of months after I won the Orange Bowl [in 2015], I really believed that I could be at this stage.
Since then, honestly I’ve been visualising it almost every single day. I’m so blessed to have played a legend like Serena, this [win] is for all of my team.”
Williams on her display and that of Andreescu: “I felt like I could have done so many things a little bit better. But she played really well and deserves this championship. Today, I thought she brought more intensity than versatility – I didn’t give her too much opportunity to have that. I love Bianca, I think she’s a great girl but this was the worst match I’ve played all tournament.”