Canadian Bianca Andreescu is taking the tennis world, and Canada, by storm as she continues her extraordinary run at the U.S. Open, where she will meet American legend Serena Williams in the final on Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern.
If it wasn't for the incredible run of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors, Andreescu would be the top sports story in Canada in 2019. But No. 2 is not bad.
In a takeoff of the Raptors' slogan, #WeTheNorth, #ShetheNorth is trending in Canada.
A year ago, few people even heard of Bianca. Former player and now ESPN analyst Pam Shriver told Bianca in a post-match interview on Thursday night that a year ago, "I don't think I'd heard of you."
Already the oldest Grand Slam finalist in the Open era, Williams will celebrate her 38th birthday in three weeks while her 19-year-old Canadian opponent will not be able to celebrate a victory with a drink at New York City bar for two more years.
"It is just surreal I don't know what to say it is a dream come true to play Serena in the finals of the U.S. Open," said Andreescu following her 7-6(3) 7-5 semi-final win over Swiss Belinda Bencic on Thursday. "It's crazy."
At the end of last year Andreescu sat an anonymous 178th in the world rankings and lost in the first round of U.S. Open qualifying.
Bianca Andreescu Match Point and Celebration Winning the 2019 US Open Championship over Serena Williams.
Bianca Andreescu cannot stop making history.
On the incredible stage of the U.S Open women’s singles final, the 19-year-old from the Toronto suburbs took down the most daunting opponent in the sport, pulling off a remarkable straight-sets win (6-3, 7-5) that makes her the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title.
When the performance was over, when Andreescu had survived a furious rally from her legendary opponent after she held a 5-1 lead in the second set, with Arthur Ashe Stadium roaring and shaking in favour of her American opponent, the Canadian dropped her racquet in disbelief. After a quick hug, she collapsed on her back in the middle of the court.
Bianca Andreescu began her day Saturday the same way she started every morning during her run to the U.S. Open title. By meditating and visualizing how she could beat her next opponent.
Those practices, adopted by the Canadian teenager years ago, seem to be working for her throughout her breakout season.
And Saturday's visualization session, where she saw herself defeating American superstar Serena Williams for the U.S. Open championship, worked especially well.
"I put myself in situations [that] I think can happen in a match, basically," Andreescu said Saturday night, hours after downing Williams 6-3, 7-5 in a thrilling women's final at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. "I just find ways to deal with that so I'm prepared for anything that comes my way.
"I think your biggest weapon is to be as prepared as you can. I really think that working your mind [is important] because at this level everyone knows how to play tennis.
"The thing that separates the best from the rest is just the mindset."
It wasn't the first time Andreescu had thought about playing the 37-year-old in a Grand Slam final.
"It's so crazy, man," she said, pausing to wipe tears from her eyes. "I've been dreaming of this moment for the longest time.
"I guess these visualizations really, really work," she added with a laugh.
Canadian Bianca Andreescu was on top of the world on Sunday, posing with the U.S. Open championship trophy at the Rockefeller Center overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
She was being feted after her stunning 6-3, 7-5 victory on Saturday over American Serena Williams, a feat that has lifted her to No. 5 in the world.
Bianca has climbed over 100 spots on the rankings since January, when she started the year as world No. 107 and she joined Eugenie Bouchard as the highest-ranked female player ever in Canadian tennis history. Bouchard reached No. 5 in 2014, while, on the men's side, Milos Raonic hit No. 3 in 2016.
The 19-year-old Andreescu became the first Canadian ever to win a Grand Slam singles title, although Bouchard (2014) and Raonic (2016) knocked on the door, making the finals at Wimbledon.
It was Bianca's third WTA title after winning at Indian Wells in March and at the Rogers Cup in Toronto last month.
Serena Williams didn’t let her stunning US Open loss prevent her from partying with her family and friends.
After losing in straight sets to 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu in the final on Saturday, Williams, husband Alexis Ohanian, sister Venus and 12 more of her nearest and dearest rented out the entire top floor of Mexican restaurant Vida Verde Sunday evening, we’re told.
Williams and her guests arrived at 9 p.m. and ordered the restaurant’s entire menu, a spy told Page Six. They paired their feast with the spot’s Forteleza margaritas and partied until 2 a.m.
“Serena was in good spirits,” our source shared.
The group ended their late night with dessert.
Williams’ close pal Meghan Markle, who flew to the Big Apple to watch the match, didn’t join the party.