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FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. — The 2019 ladies’s champion of the US Open didn’t know fairly what to do, and who might blame her?

She had by no means been in a significant closing earlier than. She had by no means even been in the primary draw of the Open earlier than. So just a few moments after the ultimate factors of her epic 6-Three, 7-5 victory Saturday over Serena Williams, solely the best participant in historical past, 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu, the primary Canadian of any gender to seize a Grand Slam title, sprawled flat on her again within the deuce-court service field, legs performed out, a tennis ball close by, simply in case she wished to pound yet another fearless forehand on the reeling icon throughout the online.

Bianca Andreescu is likely one of the finest tales of this or any 12 months. She couldn’t get by qualification right here final 12 months and completed 2018 ranked No. 178. She missed months this 12 months with a hard shoulder harm. Nonetheless, she held on to her perception, and saved up with the visualization methods she’s been utilizing since she gained the Orange Bowl 18s, a significant junior event, just a few years in the past.

She would think about herself enjoying Serena Williams in a closing, and beating her.

She visualized it daily.

“It’s so loopy, man,” Andreescu stated, tearing up. “For it to develop into a actuality is simply so loopy. I assume these visualizations actually, actually work.”

Andreescu started this exceptional ascent on the first WTA event of the 12 months, in Auckland, New Zealand, the place she beat Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams and made it to the finals. Then she gained in Indian Wells, taking down Angelique Kerber within the closing, and other people began to note. However her shoulder pressured her to retire in Miami and from the second spherical of the French, and he or she was out many of the summer time, and the grass and hardcourt seasons.

“To be sincere, I by no means considered this,” her father, Nicu Andreescu, advised USA TODAY Sports activities. “We didn’t suppose this might be occurring (so quickly) with all of the accidents.”

His daughter lastly acquired wholesome in time for his or her hometown event, in Toronto, early final month. The unseeded Andreescu beat No. 5 Kiki Bertens and No Three Karolina Pliskova and made it to the finals, towards Williams. It didn’t final lengthy – Williams retired with again spasms after shedding three of the primary 4 video games – however the small pattern measurement did nothing however bolster Andreescu’s perception that she might battle Williams, and win.

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, took word.

“I feel she’s going to be No. 1 quickly, as a result of she has all the things that’s wanted,” he stated a day earlier than the ultimate.

So a lot of Williams’ opponents get so cowed by her legend and her aura that they’re successfully crushed earlier than they get on the courtroom. It didn’t even happen to Andreescu to be awed. Her father stated worry has by no means been the slightest little bit of her make-up.

“When she was little, we needed to have her put on a helmet in the home, as a result of she was all the time so energetic, banging her head towards all the things,” he stated.

Andreescu’s unrelenting combating spirit labored on the 37-year-old Williams, the oldest finalist within the Open period. Williams’ serve is essentially the most harmful weapon within the sport. She’d misplaced three service video games the entire event – profitable 51 of 54 – earlier than Andreescu broke her six instances within the closing. Williams’ serve was approach off kind – she had eight double faults and double faulted on break level 3 times – however the strain Andreescu placed on her by coming at her from the outset undoubtedly had loads to do with that. Williams counts on a whole lot of free factors. In opposition to Andreescu, she acquired none.

The sport plan was to make Williams run, prolong factors, make her work for each ball. Andreescu executed it brilliantly. After Williams lastly settled in and fought again from a 1-5 deficit within the second, combating off a championship level, instantly the set was squared at 5, and the group was going berserk. Andreescu put her fingers in her ears at one level.

“It was actually, actually loud. I might barely hear myself suppose,” she stated.

It appeared as if it was all unraveling, however then she had a robust maintain for 6-5, smacking an ace alongside the way in which, and broke Williams one final time to finish it, smoking a forehand winner down the road on match level.

“It was wonderful at 5-all that she was in a position to reset,” her coach, Sylvain Bruneau, advised USA TODAY Sports activities. “Serena is discovering her vary. The gang is entering into it. It’s turning into anyone’s match – and he or she’s enjoying towards Serena, the best participant of all time.”

And Andreescu, the youngest Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2006, powered by.

“She does what she does finest, and that is transfer as much as the ball, that is hit winners, that is play with a ton of depth,” Williams stated. “She undoubtedly deserves this championship.”

A 12 months in the past, when Williams was falling to Naomi Osaka within the closing, Andreescu was residence, injured, “sitting on my butt.” Now she is the US Open champion, a Canadian hero, the proprietor of the most effective document of any participant in Open historical past. She has performed seven matches, and gained all of them.

That is hard to high. The entire day was robust to high for the quickest rising star in her sport.

“I’ve the largest smile on my face,” Andreescu stated.

Observe Wayne Coffey on Twitter @wr_coffey


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