Serena Williams will be eyeing her 24th Grand Slam title on Saturday (Image: PTI File)
All that stands between Serena Williams and her record-equalling Grand Slam now is a Canadian teenager. The 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu booked a date with the 23-time Grand Slam champion for the US Open title after a tense 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 win over Belinda Bencic in the semifinal.
Earlier, 6-time US Open champion Serena Williams defeated fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-1 to book a spot in her 10th final here. Serena needs one win to equal Margaret Court’s mark.
However, she will be not be taking anything for granted. Since returning to action after the birth of her first child, Williams has thrice come close to a Grand Slam time with the most recent opportunity being the Wimbledon final, which she lost to Simona Halep.
In 2018, she was left in tears following a loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka on Arthur Ashe Stadium where Williams created some controversy with her behaviour. Now, she will have a chance on Saturday to put all that behind her in front of an adoring home crowd.
Andreescu Stands Tall
Andreescu is just the second women's Grand Slam finalist from Canada - after Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon in 2014 - and will bid to become the first teen Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova won at Flushing Meadows in 2006.
"It's just surreal. I really don't know what to say. It's a dream come true playing Serena in the finals of the US open. It's crazy, it's crazy," Andreescu said.
"I think it's just all the hard work I've put in through the years. If someone told me a year ago I would be in the US Open final this year, I'd tell them they were crazy."
Andreescu, in her US Open main draw debut, saved a set point in the opening set against fellow first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Bencic, the 13th seed from Switzerland, before edging the tie-break.
She trailed by a double break at 5-2 in the second set but reeled off the final five games to set up a rematch of last month's Toronto final against the 37-year-old Williams, who retired from that clash with a back injury.