A thrilling encounter is on the cards in Saturday’s US Open women’s final with Serena Williams going for a seventh title in New York. She is also hoping to finally match the total of Margaret Court and her 24 on the all-time list. She plays Bianca Andreescu, in what is going to a rematch of the Toronto final. The Canadian took the title there after an early retirement from Serena. It is a record breaking final with the match having the biggest age difference between competitors. Serena won her first US Open in 1999 while the Canadian was not even born until the middle of 2000.
Andreescu was not at her best for most of her straight sets win over Belinda Bencic but it didn’t matter when she was so impressive on all the key points in the 7-6 7-5 win. Bencic was the better player for most of both sets but Andreescu stepped up in the first set tiebreak, building a 4-0 lead to help her on her way. The second set should have been out of sight when she was down 5-2 but the pressure got to Bencic, while the Canadian held firm to put together a run of five straight games for the match. “I just kept believing in myself,” Andreescu continued. “But I think that moment after the match [point won], I was just in shock. At the same time, I fought really hard to get to this point, so I really think I deserve to be in the finals on Saturday.”
After Elina Svitolina failed to take early chances, Serena was never really troubled in her 6-3 6-1 win over the Ukranian. She hit an impressive 35 winners in the victory and won 86% of her first serve points in a dominant performance. She finally feels confident in her fitness having had issues for much of her time following her return from the birth of her daughter. “I felt more prepared this tournament,” Serena said afterwards.“I joked I trained more for Canada than I did for any other tournament this year, which was kind of funny. I just had a really tough year with injuries, mostly bad luck. I just needed to get injury-free.”
The matchup is a fascinating one with Andreescu having the smarts to outfox and make Serena around the court. Just as impressively, she can likely match the eighth seed for power too. How she approaches the match tactically will be fascinating, as her on court problem solving has demonstrated just what an impressive player she is and will continue to be.
Despite never going deep in her few slam attempts, the lack of experience doesn’t look like it will do much to hinder Andreescu. The Canadian always seems to hold it together mentally and already looks like an excellent big match player with a current unbeaten (7-0) record against top 10 players. Meanwhile, Serena’s invincibility in finals now feels like it is gone. She has lost her last three having only lost 6 of her first 29. If she starts badly again, the doubts may well kick in again so frontrunning will be incredibly important for her in this match. With no previous completed matches between the pair to fall back on, she will not have the knowledge that she is taking on a player she has always previously dominated.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets