NEW YORK — Canada’s Bianca Andreescu is on to the US Open final.
The 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., continued her impressive season with a 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic to advance to the Grand Slam tournament’s final.
Andreescu will face a familiar foe in 37-year-old legend Serena Williams.
The two played in last month’s Rogers Cup where Williams had to retire in the final after only four games due to back spasms.
That handed Andreescu her second WTA title of the season and made her the first Canadian to win the tournament since Faye Urban of Windsor, Ont., beat Vancouver’s Vicki Berner in 1969.
When Andreescu plays Williams on Saturday afternoon, the veteran player will be looking for her 24th major title.
Andreescu hopes to make some history of her own.
She is the first player to reach the women’s singles final in her US Open main-draw debut since 17-year-old Venus Williams did it in 1997.
Just incredible! Congratulations to 19-year-old @Bandreescu_ who is the first Canadian singles tennis player to advance to the #USOpen final. 🇨🇦
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 6, 2019
On Saturday afternoon, Andreescu will face an opponent who won her first US Open in 1999, as a 17-year-old — before Andreescu was born.
Andreescu defeated Bencic in the hotly contested semifinal that seemed destined to go three sets.
The win came immediately after Williams needed just an hour 10 minutes to dispatch No. 6 seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-1 in the other semifinal.
“It’s just surreal. Like, I really don’t know what to say,” said Andreescu. “It’s a dream come true playing against Serena in the finals of the US Open. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.”
Rise, @Bandreescu_! Rise!#SheTheNorth🇨🇦
— Canadian Forces in 🇺🇸 (@CAFinUS) September 6, 2019
There wasn’t a single break-point opportunity in the first set, which lasted nearly as long as Williams’s entire match and went to the tiebreak.
Andreescu hit 25 winners, more than enough to win the set on their own. But she also made 20 unforced errors, almost enough to lose the set on their own.
But the teenager had some momentum going into the tiebreak, and at one point won eight points in a row before losing three straight.
Bencic was serving first in the set, and it always felt as though she was ahead. She played a more consistent set. And she even had a set point but she still lost it.
The second set was a completely different story as Bencic went up 4-1, and 5-2 — both times with two breaks of serve in hand.
The Swiss player changed her tactics. Instead of moving Andreescu around the court as she had done much of the first set, she upped the velocity on her groundstrokes and moved Andreescu around that way.
Cold blooded 🥶🌬@Bandreescu_
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) September 6, 2019
Andreescu was looking leg weary. Despite the much cooler temperatures for this semifinal compared to the stifling humidity Wednesday night, Andreescu was still perspiring profusely.
She was mixing in the occasional drop shot, high looping ball and forehand slice. But Bencic didn’t seem to have much trouble with any of the changes of pace.
It all turned when Bencic served at 4-1 in the second set. She was up two breaks and then she handed one back as she double-faulted twice.
Andreescu then won four consecutive games, rallying past Bencic after being down 2-5 in the second set.
Suddenly, Bencic was serving just to stay in the match.
The crowd was getting into it, as well. Bencic was the more affected of the two players.
Stephanie Myles, THE CANADIAN PRESS