Serena Williams‘s quest to equal Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam wins is on course.
The tennis superstar, seeded eighth, on Thursday night beat Ukranian Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-1 at the Flushing Meadows to reach a consecutive US Open Grand Slam final since giving birth to daughter, Olympia.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2019
Serena will be playing the final against Bianca Andreescu, a 19-year-old Canadian playing in her first Grand Slam and who had not yet been born when Serena won her first title 20 years ago at the Flushing Meadows.
15th-seeded Bianca, who has made a meteoric rise into the elite of women’s tennis, beat Belinda Bencic 7-6 (3), 7-5 in Thursday’s second semifinal.
Bianca Andreescu, who is playing in the US Open main draw for the first time and competing in only her fourth Grand Slam, was born nine months after Williams won her first title at Flushing Meadows in 1999.
Serena Williams has played 32 Gland Slams finals over a career that has spanned 20 years.
She has won 21 of her first 25 Grand Slam finals but has lost five of her last seven. She has also lost all three she has played since returning to the game last year after the birth of a daughter, Olympia, in September 2017. The birth almost cost her her life. Her latest Grand Slam lost was to at Wimbledon Championship last July when she lost to Romanian Simona Halep 6-2 6-2 at the Centre court.
She also played and lost in last year’s controversial US Open showpiece against Naomi Osaka.
If Williams wins on Saturday, in addition to equally Margaret Court’s record of the highest number of Grand Slam wins, she would also set a record for the highest wins in US Open open era.
Free of the knee injury which bothered her earlier this year, she is looking as sharp, powerful and clinical as she has in a long time.
“I felt more prepared this tournament,” Williams says. “I mean, Wimbledon, I probably had a week to prepare, so that was amazing. Australia, I was super-prepared. I did great, then rolled my ankle [in the quarterfinals against Karolina Pliskova]. I shouldn’t have even played the French Open. That was just a bonus just to compete in another Grand Slam.
“I just feel like I actually had time to train. I joked I trained more for Canada [last month] than I did for any other tournament this year, which is kind of funny.”
Bianca and Serena recently met in last month’s Roger’s Cup in Canada, which Bianca won after Serena pulled out of the tournament mid-match because of injury.
“I am so sad to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open as it truly is one of the tournaments I most love to play,” the 37-year-old Williams said at the time.
“I came to Mason on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning. But unfortunately my back is still not right and I know I should not take to the court.”
Bianca consoled a crying Williams as she sat in her chair.
“What’s going on? Are you okay?” Andreescu could be heard saying in a Sportsnet clip. “Oh God, this sucks … I’ve watched you for your whole career … you’re a f**king beast.”
The two women will meet again on Saturday in the U.S. Open final. And the winner will take home $3.85 million.
“If someone told me a year ago that I’d be in the finals of the US Open this year, I’d tell them you’re crazy,” No. 15 Andreescu said after winning the last five games to secure a 7-6(3), 7-5 win over No. 13 Belinda Bencic.
Several months after the Toronto Raptors became the first Canadian team to win the NBA title, Andreescu can become the first Canadian ever to win a Slam. Genie Bouchard (2014) and Milos Raonic (2016) have both lost in the Wimbledon final.