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Men’s and Women’s tennis vs. McMaster University

Bianca Andreescu defeats Serena Williams to win the US Open championship

Andreescu becomes first Canadian to win a Grand Slam tournament

Bianca Andreescu defeats Serena Williams to win the US Open championship

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.” 

The future of Canadian tennis

In conversation with Denis Shapovalov

The future of Canadian tennis

Over the last decade, Tennis Canada has produced a new wave of successful Canadian tennis players. Starting with Vasek Pospisil in 2007, Milos Raonic in 2008, and Eugenie Bouchard in 2009, Canadians have been a force to reckon with on the courts, beating some of the best players in the world. However, Canada’s best might be knocking on the door to glory.

Currently ranked 27th in the world, Denis Shapovalov is no stranger to success on the big stage — he won the US Open Doubles Junior Grand Slam in 2015 and the Wimbledon Singles Junior Grand Slam in 2016. Shapovalov exploded onto the professional scene in 2017, beating then-second-ranked seed Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup in Montréal. The star on the rise spoke with The Varsity about his success and his future in tennis.

During this year’s Rogers Cup in Toronto, Shapovalov had the opportunity to play on Centre Court in his hometown.

“Playing at home is truly amazing. It’s very rare to have a chance to play in your home country so when I have that chance I try to take advantage of it. I really love having the crowd behind me, so I try to get them engaged as much as possible,” Shapovalov said.

“Obviously it’s great to have my friends and family around to watch me play. When I am on the court I try not to pay too much attention to that; however, it’s great to see them off the court because I am usually travelling, so I don’t get a chance to see them often,” Shapovalov added.

When asked about beating Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro in 2017, Shapovalov replied, “Beating them was a huge step forward in my career. I was about 130th in the world when I beat them, so with that tournament my ranking jumped a lot and made me eligible to play in bigger events. It was also a huge confidence booster for me, knowing that I am able to beat players of that level. It really inspired me to work harder to keep improving.”

Shapovalov’s big wins sparked a climb up the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking from 133rd to 67th.

When it comes to tennis supremacy, four men lead the way in the Golden Era of Tennis: Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. Combined, they’ve won 50 of the 55 major single titles, from the 2005 French Open to the 2018 US Open.

It’s hard to imagine tennis without the Big Four, but Shapovalov suggested that the future of tennis may start to change.

“It’s difficult to know exactly what the future of tennis holds. However, I see a lot of talented young guys on the come up. I’m sure [in] the next couple of years we are going to see a lot of ranking changes with lots of young guys coming up and older guys dropping out,” he said.

Denis Shapovalov is not only a talented singles player, but also a competitive doubles player. Yet, even the biggest names in the sport have difficulties balancing both events.

“I think doubles is equally as exciting as singles. You have a lot more ‘hotshot’ points and the game has a very high pace, so it is fun to watch,” he said. “For me, it’s a chance to work on some components of my game that I usually cannot in singles matches. Such as serving and volleying.”

Like most professional athletes, Shapovalov’s daily routine is broken down by the minute. When he isn’t competing or travelling his schedule is:

9:00 am: Wake up

9:30 am: Breakfast

10:00–10:45 am: Mobilization

11:00 am to 1:00 pm: On court training

1:00–3:00 pm: Lunch and break

3:00–4:30 pm: Fitness

4:30–6:00 pm: On court training

6:00–7:30 pm: Cool down and recovery

7:30–10:00 pm: Dinner and off time

10:00 pm: Bedtime

What makes Shapovalov a real threat in the future is his desire to improve.

“I think I have a lot of areas where I can improve. I think mentally I am still growing and improving. Physically I can keep getting stronger and more explosive. And on court I can improve a lot in my net game,” he said.

Looking toward the 2019 tennis season, a motivated Shapovalov has the opportunity to make some noise atop the ATP rankings.