Sun, Dec 15, 2019

NEW YORK — On Saturday, Serena Williams will get another chance to win her record-tying 24th Grand Slam title when she faces Canadian 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu in the final of the 2019 US Open. Williams lost in her last three Grand Slam finals, with the latest loss occurring at Wimbledon against Simona Halep in July.

Williams, 37, is obviously no longer in her prime nor is she playing her greatest tennis in this tournament. But she’s playing her greatest tennis since returning from giving birth to a daughter in 2017. There’s also a sense of undisturbed focus and calmness from Williams at this year’s final Grand Slam of the season. She’s still just as determined and hungry to win a title as she was when she won her first career Grade Slam, 20 years ago on the very same stage where she’ll try to win No. 24.

“I felt more prepared this tournament,” Williams said after her semifinal win on Thursday. “Wimbledon I probably had a week to prepare, so that was amazing. Australia, I was super prepared. I did great, then rolled my ankle. 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 just had a really tough year with injuries, mostly bad luck. I just needed to get injury-free.”

Williams faced Andreescu once before, in August at the Rogers Cup. Williams was forced to retire from the match with back spasms. At the time, Andreescu was leading Williams 3-1 in the first set. Afterward, Andreescu comforted a visibly upset Williams in an emotional on-court moment.

“She [Andreescu] really knows how to mix up the game and play different shots in different ways,” Williams said. “She serves well, moves well, has a ton of power. Above all, I just like her as a person. She’s amazing.”

Andreescu will have to match William’s strong hitting from behind the baseline in Saturday’s final. The two share the fact that both the players’ strength lies in their power. Andreescu, 19, has not lost a completed match since March 2. She has completed an impressive rise in the world rankings, going from No. 152 in the world at the start of the year to No. 15.

“I was ranked, like, outside of the 150, I think,” Andreescu said after her semifinal win against No. 13 Belinda Bencic. “It’s just crazy what a year can do.”

Here’s who the two have beaten on their way to the final:

Serena Williams:

1R: Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-1
2R: Caty McNally, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
3R: Karolina Muchova, 6-3, 6-4
4R: Petra Martic, 6-3, 6-4
QF: Qiang Wang, 6-1, 6-0
SF: Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-1

Bianca Andreescu:

1R: Katie Volynets, 6-2, 6-4
2R: Kirsten Flipkens, 6-3, 7-5
3R: Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-4
4R: Taylor Townsend, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
QF: Elise Mertens, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
SF: Belinda Bencic, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5

Here’s how you can watch the championship match.

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