US Open 2019 women's final: Serena Williams vs Bianca Andreescu, preview and prediction
Serena Williams will have yet another shot at the elusive 24th Grand Slam when she steps on the court inside Arthur Ashe Stadium later tonight. However, she has not been at her best in finals lately, having lost the last three Major finals that she has been in.
Her opponent for this one is the raw talent and breakout star of 2019, Bianca Andreescu.
The Canadian teenager has showcased not only quality tennis, but also great maturity in crunch situations. She has won more three-set matches than anyone on tour this year, and has amassed two WTA Premier titles too (Indian Wells and Toronto).
Andreescu knows what it takes to succeed on the big stage, and always brings a mix of aggression and smart court sense to her matches.
That is exactly the kind of play that can frustrate Serena into playing a reckless brand of tennis. The 23-time Slam champion has been left surprised by the varied play of her opponents in the last three finals. If was difficult for her to adapt to the combination of offense and defense that Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep brought to the court.
Andreescu will have to do exactly the same if she wants a shot at glory here. She will have to be ultra-aggressive and push Serena on to the backfoot early in match, but also be prepared to retrieve the bullets that the American fires into the corners. Once Serena gets going from the baseline, not even the best defensive players can keep up, so Andreescu will have to prevent the 37-year-old from getting into a rhythm.
We have seen the Canadian play very tenaciously over the past few weeks, but she is capable of playing dominant tennis too, hitting through the ball with regularity. She might be able to get away with a few drawn-out rallies and a few net approaches, but this match will be a test of her ability as an offensive baseliner.
How well she fares in that department will have a huge bearing on the result of the match. Serena has looked good in a lot of her Grand Slam outings in the recent past, only to have a total collapse in the finals. She is vulnerable here again, but you get the feeling that she will get over the line sooner or later.
If she continues to fire the way she has been these past couple of weeks, this might well be her time.
Prediction: Serena to win in two close sets.