September 23, 2019
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Andreescu holds off Serena comeback to win US Open

New York, Sep 7 (efe-epa).- Canadian rising star Bianca Andreescu has captured her biggest title in a breakthrough year, keeping her composure after a spirited rally by American great Serena Williams and holding on for a 6-3, 7-5 victory in Saturday afternoon's US Open final.

The 19-year-old Andreescu, who is nearly half the age of the 37-year-old Williams, was clearly the more solid of the two players through the first 15 games and showed no signs of nerves in the early going.

The 15th-seeded Canadian won the first set thanks to her clean, deep hitting off both forehand and backhand, showing that she could match the American 23-time Grand Slam champion stroke-for-stroke in the rallies.

Andreescu hit slightly fewer winners than Williams in the opening set (12 versus 16), but she more than made up for that gap by making just six unforced errors, eight less than her opponent.

The underdog's dominance then continued through the first six games of the second set as Williams fell behind 1-5 due to a skyrocketing unforced error tally.

But enjoying the overwhelming support of her countrymen inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York - and even the backing of an American-born member of the British royal family, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex - the eighth-seeded Williams suddenly found her game and made a remarkable comeback, which started when she saved her first championship point in the seventh game with a big forehand.

Finding the range with her serve and groundstrokes against an opponent who finally started to feel the pressure of the moment, Williams sent the crowd into a frenzy by winning four straight games to make the score 5-5 in the second set.

But Andreescu kept her composure, striking one ace and hitting another winner in a crucial 11th game to snag back the lead at 6-5.

Then in Williams's ensuing service game, two backhand unforced errors led to a 15-40 deficit and two more championship points for Andreescu.

The American saved the first one with her ninth ace of the match, but Andreescu clinched her first Grand Slam title on the next point with a forehand return of serve winner down the line.

With the loss, Williams once again has come up short in her bid to tie Australian great Margaret Court with 24 Grand Slam women's singles titles, having earlier missed out on chances to equal that record when she lost the 2018 and 2019 Wimbledon finals and the 2018 US Open final.

Although the defeat has to sting, Williams said afterward she was happy for her good friend.

"If anyone else could win the US Open - except for (her older sister) Venus - I'm glad it's Bianca," Williams said in an on-court interview.

Andreescu, meanwhile, admitted afterward that the New York crowd's strong support for her opponent was intimidating.

"Oh man, it wasn't easy at all," the Canadian teenager, who won hard-court titles earlier this year in Indian Wells, California, and Toronto, said of the match. "I'm really proud with how I dealt with everything." EFE-EPA

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