PHOTO COURTESY OF WALLY GOBETZ/FLICKR

Bianca Andreescu defeated Serena Williams this Saturday to capture Canada’s first ever Grand Slam singles title. 

She won in straight sets 6–3, 7–5 to capture the championship, but Williams, a tennis veteran, did not make it easy for her. 

Andreescu won the coin toss, and elected to give Williams the first serve of the match, which earned her a break in the first game. She won the first set by a score of 6–3. 

In the second set, Andreescu was up 5–1, winning three break points in the set. She was on match point in the next set, but Williams’ veteran composure shone through, as she was able to fight off Andreescu’s match point, and bring the set score back even at 5–5. 

For the first time in this tournament, Andreescu looked shaken, with the crowd roaring behind her, and all the momentum in Williams’ favour. However, Andreescu continued to show the poise that she had shown throughout the tournament, winning the next game with her own serve.

Andreescu would then have needed to win the next game — with Williams serving — in order to avoid a tiebreaker. She won the first point, and went up 40–15. After Williams won the next point, Andreescu delivered a beautiful forehand to secure herself the title. 

After embracing Williams, Andreescu fell down onto the court, lying on her back to take in the moment. She then quickly climbed onto the stands to celebrate with her team and family before accepting the trophy at the centre of the court. Along with being designated the US Open Women’s Singles Champion, Andreescu also earned a 3.85 million USD cheque for winning the tournament. 

Andreescu is only the third Canadian to reach the finals of a Grand Slam tournament, after Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic reached the Wimbledon finals in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The Mississauga native burst onto the tennis scene this year, winning the Indian Wells tournament in March and the Rogers Cup in Toronto in August. 

The Rogers Cup final saw Andreescu face off against Williams, but the match was short-lived, as Williams had to retire due to injury. At the end of the match, Andreescu was seen comforting the distraught Williams, and they embraced shortly after.

At the US Open in New York, Andreescu won the first three rounds in straight sets before beating Taylor Townsend in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals she lost the first set against Belgium’s Elise Mertens, but won the final two sets 6–2 and 6–3 to advance. 

In the first set of the semifinals against Belinda Bencic from Switzerland, Andreescu had never led, but Bencic was unable to win a break point for the entire set. Andreescu dominated in the tie-breaker, winning it 7–3. 

Early on in the second set it looked like Bencic would force a third set, going up 4–1 and 5–2, and Andreescu seemed exhausted. However, she continued to show strong mental fortitude, and won the next five sets in a row, triumphing over the match in straight sets. This set up the match against Williams in the finals. 

Andreescu has been drawing in fans from all over the country, and has inspired the hashtag #SheTheNorth. She has received support from the likes of Justin Trudeau, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, and former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion. Even her competitor, Serena Williams, shared praise for the young star, saying, “She really knows how to mix up the game, above all I just like her as a person, she’s amazing.” 

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