Serena Williams vs Bianca Andreescu - US Open Finals - Preview and Prediction
After two weeks of non-stop tennis, we arrive at the US Open final. It is not just a match but a clash of generations as American Superstar, Serena Williams, takes on the consistent Canadian, Bianca Andreescu, tomorrow.
Serena at 37 years is nearly double the age of Andreescu, who's 19. The age gap is so significant that Andreescu was not even born when Serena won her first US Open in 1999.
Women's tennis continues to maintain its tag of unpredictability with new stars emerging and the old guard standing strong. Of the top 10 seeds in the women's draw, three players lost in the second round, one player lost in the third round, four players lost in the fourth round and one player lost in the semifinal.
Serena was the only one who avoided any upsets as she was the lone top 10 seed to reach the finals. The American did quite well this year reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and finishing as a runner-up at Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup.
She had to retire hurt from Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, and the Rogers Cup due to injuries. Injury concerns on her knee and ankle did hamper her in the US Open this year but Serena displayed her fighting spirit and won all the matches comprehensively.
Serena has not won any titles yet this year but has shown her best by defeating big names such as Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Elise Mertens, and Naomi Osaka.
She started off her campaign brightly, hammering Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in the first round. 17-year old Catherine McNally troubled Serena by taking a set, but the six-time US Open champion was too good for the teenager.
The next two rounds went smoothly for Serena as she conceded just 12 games against Karolina Muchova and Petra Martic.
Wang Qiang who had shocked World Number 2, Ashleigh Barty, in straight sets in the fourth round, was blown away in just 44 minutes. Serena's domination was such that a clueless Wang could not hit even a single winner in the whole match.
Elina Svitolina who was having a golden run after reaching back to back grand slam semifinals was expected to test Serena. The American, however, was in no mood for any upset as she won 6-3, 6-1 in 70 minutes. Serena blasted a staggering 33 winners in the match. Big match nerves got the better of Svitolina as she could not convert six breakpoint opportunities.
On the other hand, Bianca Andreescu has had a fantastic year where everything has gone right. She has come a long way from playing ITF events last year to chasing grand slam glory.
Andreescu has won three titles this year- the Oracle Challenger Series, Indian Wells, and Rogers Cup. She has shown to the world that she belongs on the big stage through her splendid performances. Her victims include Grand Slam champions such as Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza, and Serena, this year.
Her road to the final started off smoothly as she defeated Katie Volynets and Kirsten Flipkens comfortably in straight sets. The Wozniacki-Andreescu clash was eagerly awaited but Andreescu won it 6-4, 6-4. Wozniacki praised Andreescu after the match comparing her with Belgian legend, Kim Clijsters.
Andreescu had to use all the tricks in her bag against an inspired Taylor Townsend as she survived to win 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 to end the qualifier's dream run. Mertens who had not lost a set in the four rounds she had played in the tournament went down fighting to Andreescu in three sets.
Andreescu set up a juicy semi-final clash with Belinda Bencic. The match was a close affair as the Canadian edged past Bencic 7-6 7-5.
A statistical analysis of Serena and Andreescu ahead of the final
Serena and Andreescu have met just once before in this year's Rogers Cup finals. Serena was forced to retire against Andreescu due to back spasms after trailing 1-3 in the first set. Both have had a similar route, pulling out of the Cincinnati Masters at the last minute and reaching the US Open finals.
Serena will have the edge going to this match as she has been in the zone in most of the matches and anything that is returned badly to her will be punished with a wonderful winner.
Andreescu has never played a slam final before and will hope that she does not get overwhelmed by the occasion. Though Serena is heavily experienced, she does feel the pressure of performance. The American has won 23 Grand Slams, one short of Margaret Court's record 24. Serena's drive to equal that record brings in the pressure and could prove fatal for her.
This match is contrasting for both as it is a big match to lose for Serena while a big match to win for Andreescu.
Factors like injury concerns and calmness in the mind can also play a role in Serena's performance. Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, should also try to avoid attempts of on-court coaching which he did in last year's finals where Serena lost to Osaka.
The partisan American crowd is a double-edged sword. They can back you in your tough moments while they boo in unison if they do not like you. The electric atmosphere can motivate players to give their best as well as pressurize the player's performance. A player will have to be wary of the crowd and ensure that it is the racket that does all the talking.
Both players are in-form and there are not many differences in gameplay and confidence level between Serena and Andreescu. The player who wins the first set will have the edge as it not only gives momentum but also creates nerves for the opponent.
Serena will have a better chance of winning the match if she dictates terms right from the start and converts all the opportunities offered.
“She’s a great player, She mixes things up. You never know what is going to come from her. She serves well, moves well, has a ton of power. She’s very exciting to watch. It’s good. I think it’s great for women’s tennis.”, said Serena, praising Andreescu ahead of the high-stakes final.
Serena Williams to win in three sets
Cover Image Credits - En24 News