New York, 8 September 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Serena Williams failed yet again to claim a record-tying 24th grand slam title on Saturday as an extraordinary comeback fell short in a 6-3, 7-5 defeat against Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu in the US Open final.
Williams saved a match point at 5-1 down in the second set as she roared back to 5-5 but a full turnaround in front of a partisan crowd then surprisingly never materialised as Andreescu steadied herself again to win on third match point with a return winner.
The American great was eventually punished for double faults in crucial moments – including set point in the first set – and compiling too many unforced errors, 33 to Andreescu’s 17.
She has now lost four grand slam finals since her last title 2017 in Australia, and since returning from maternity leave last year – remaining one shy of the 24 titles Australian Margaret Court won between 1960 and 1973.
Andreescu, 19, capped a dream run at Flushing Meadows with her maiden title in only her fourth main draw at the majors, equalling the record from Monica Seles at the 1990 French Open.
She is also the first Canadian player to win a grand slam singles title.
“It is so hard to explain in words. I am beyond grateful and truly blessed. this year has been a dream come true. To play at this stage against a true legend of the sport is amazing,” the youngster said at the trophy presentation.
“It wasn’t easy at all. I tried to prepare as best as I could and not think about who I am playing. I am really proud how I dealt with everything.”
Williams said of her comeback effort: “I was just fighting at that point trying to stay out. The fans cheered so hard that I played better and fought more.
“Bianca played an unbelievable match. I am so proud and happy for you. I wish I could have played better tennis. I just feel really honoured to be out here and competing at this level. It is not easy to be in this sport for so long.”
Andreescu’s biggest career success came a year after going out in Flushing Meadows qualifying, and caps a remarkable year in which she won the big Indian Wells and Toronto titles and will rise into the top 10 from 15 after being ranked outside the top 200 12 months ago.
Andreescu is 8-0 against top 10 players this year and has not lost a match on court since February. She retired injured in her last 16 match in Miami and withdrew ahead of her French Open second-round match with shoulder problems.
“I know you wanted Serena to win, I am so sorry,” Andreescu said. “I expected her to fight back. I tried best to block everything out. She started serving better but I am glad how I managed it in the end.”