The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Lindsay Gibbs, September 10, 2019
A Bianca Andreescu appreciation blog — Serena Williams speaks after the final — Must-click women's tennis links
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Friends, I’m not going to sugar coat this. It’s been quite the week for me, and it honestly feels like a fever dream that Bianca Andreescu won the U.S. Open.
But it was real. Andreescu, a 19-year-old Canadian who was ranked well outside the top 100 at the start of the year, beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final, 6-3, 7-5.
The wild part is, even though Andreescu had never made it past the second round of a major before this tournament, I had complete faith in her to handle every situation with poise, and after the first week, thought she had the best chance to win it all. That’s because she honestly looks indestructible, mentally and physically.
Andreescu won Indian Wells and Toronto in stunning fashion, and is a staggering 8-0 against top 10 players this season. Five of those wins were three setters, and four of those wins ended 6-4 in the third. To me, that proves that on the biggest stages in the tightest moments, she plays her best tennis.
We saw that again on Saturday. First, she came out moving her feet perfectly, and matching Serena, power for power. It was absolutely remarkable to watch someone so young absorb Serena’s power and redirect it right back at her. But I was most impressed with her ability to withstand Serena’s surge from 1-5 down in the second set to 5-5, and the crowd’s subsequent earth-shattering screams. It would have been understandable if she lost her composure. But she simply grew stronger, mentally, in those moments.
Making guarantees in women’s tennis is foolish. And yet, I tell you, Andreescu will win many more majors. And I can’t wait to watch along the way.
This week in tennis
As always, read Jon Wertheim’s 50 parting thoughts.
I might have coined the phrase Catsuit Tennis, but Soraya McDonald turned it into a brilliant column.
Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka won the women’s doubles crown.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands won mixed doubles with Jamie Murray.
Colombian teenager Maria Camila Osorio Serrano won the juniors title in singles.
Don’t miss the WTA Insider podcast with Andreescu.
Love this look inside Andreescu’s media tour.
Andreescu’s big win set viewership records in Canada.
I’m all for more GEMS content.
Ben Rothenberg looks at the very messy Sabalenka/Tursunov split. I’d like daily updates, please.
Tweet of the week
Five at The IX: Serena Williams
Here are some excerpts from Serena’s post-final press conference. She’s confused about her performance in finals, too.
Q. The losses, are they having less impact?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Absolutely not. I definitely can say that I’m not really happy, but I have to, like, take it one moment at a time.
I honestly didn’t play my best today. I could have played better. That’s the only solace that I can take right now.
Q. She brings a lot of versatility and competitive intensity. What impressed you the most about her game today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, today I thought she brought more intensity than versatility. I didn’t give her too much opportunity to have versatility.
I love Bianca. I think she’s a great girl. But I think this was the worst match I’ve played all tournament.
It’s hard to know that you could do better. It’s just taking it, whatever. I don’t even know what to say.
Q. It’s been about an hour since the match. What have you been thinking in that sense?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was thinking, Okay, Serena, you didn’t miss a serve, you lost serve maybe twice in the whole tournament, and you didn’t hit a first serve in today, so…
That was obviously on my mind, like how do I play at a level like this in a final? Again, I think Bianca obviously played well. I think her returns make me play better and puts pressure on my serve. At the same time it’s inexcusable for me to play at that level.
Q. You played in a lot of Grand Slam finals. I don’t know if you remember your first Grand Slam final. It was Bianca’s first. Were you surprised how composed she seemed to be? You could say she was playing in hostile territory, everybody cheering for you. She seemed to come out ready to play. Was that surprising to you at all? Were you impressed by that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I felt like Bianca plays well under pressure. She played really well at Indian Wells. She was definitely not a favorite there, but she goes out and she plays hard. She does what she does best, and that’s move up to the ball, that’s hit winners, that’s play with a ton of intensity.
I just feel like she did that really, really well today.
Q. Having deep runs, is that something you can appreciate now or will you take a while? Can you talk about overall what you’re doing and how you do inspire people with the effort you put in?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you. I feel like in 20 years, I definitely will be like, Wow, that wasn’t so bad (smiling). It’s very hard right now in the moment to, like, take this and say, It didn’t work out for you today, but it’s really hard right now to take that moment in and to say you did okay, because I don’t believe I did.
I believe I could have played better. I believe I could have done more. I believe I could have just been more Serena today.
I honestly don’t think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in Grand Slam finals.