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First set: Andreescu wins, 6-3
Williams loses the first set.
Bianca Andreescu, 19, is one set from her first Grand Slam title, taking the first set, 6-3, over Serena Williams.
As she did in the first game of the match, Williams double-faulted down break point. That gave Andreescu the set after 42 minutes. Williams has made just 50 percent of her first serves, compared to 84 percent for Andreescu. The slow start is worryingly familiar for Williams, who has now lost all seven sets she has played in Grand Slam finals since returning from maternity leave.
First set: Andreescu 5, Williams 3
Andreescu saves the first break point on her serve.
Carrying on her momentum from the long seventh game, Williams earned her first break point of the final in the next game. The opportunity didn’t last long: Andreescu saved the break point with her fourth ace, sending it wide past Williams’s backhand at 103 m.p.h. She held two points later to extend her lead to 5-3.
First set: Andreescu 4, Williams 3
Williams holds on in a marathon game.
In the most protracted battle so far, Williams toughed out a hold in the seventh game of the match, needing more than 10 minutes to hold for 3-4 in the first set.
Williams saved a break point with her third ace of the match. Andreescu earned a second break point, but squandered it with a backhand into the net. Williams saved a third break point by cracking a high forehand down the line for a winner, and a fourth with an ace that clipped the line that she needed the Hawkeye system to review.
Andreescu earned a fifth break point by winning an exchange of forehands, but Williams saved it with a sharply angled crosscourt backhand. Williams held two points later with a forehand winner, her 15th winner of the match.
Andreescu has held her own service games with ease, making 76 percent of first serves so far, and winning 85 percent of first-serve points. Fifth percent of her serves have gone unreturned.
First set: Andreescu 3, Williams 2
Williams is taking chances.
Andreescu remains ahead by one break, at 3-2. Williams has been the one taking chances so far in this match, hitting 10 winners and nine unforced errors already, compared to just two winners and one unforced error for Andreescu.
Williams’s friend Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is seated in a prime spot between Williams’s mother, Oracene Price, and her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, for this final.
Where is Coco?
Bianca Andreescu’s poodle, Coco, has stolen hearts — and airtime — during her march to the U.S. Open final.
Andreescu’s mother and father, Maria and Nicu, have been bringing the poodle into Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch Bianca’s matches.
According to Nicu Andreescu, the couple was told that dogs were not allowed in seats, but they were told they could bring Coco into the stadium for Bianca’s semifinal on Thursday against Belinda Bencic. In order to avoid a canine code violation, they had to keep Coco on the floor, at their feet, which was a little distracting for them.
“We had to keep our hands on her the whole time because she likes to jump up and watch,” Nicu said with a laugh.
First set: Andreescu 2, Williams 1
Andreescu takes an early lead.
Andreescu’s choice to receive after winning the coin toss quickly paid off. Williams opened the match in style, serving a 97-m.p.h. ace and took a 40-15 lead. From there, though, she faltered, hitting consecutive double faults to gift Andreescu the game.
Andreescu consolidated the break, holding for a 2-0 lead.
In the opening point of Williams’s next service game, Andreescu tried a drop shot. Williams chased it down and sent a shot hard at Andreescu’s body. The Canadian deflected it back, only for Williams to smash away a winner. The exchange seemed to awaken Williams, who grew more vocal throughout the game and held to narrow Andreescu’s lead to 2-1.
“Crown thy good with sisterhood.”
To open the show, “America the Beautiful” was sung by the Broadway actress Adrienne Warren, who nodded to the women about to take the court by switching a lyric to “crown thy good with sisterhood,” rather than brotherhood.
Soon after the players stopped for their prematch interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.
“The confidence is really going to help me,” Andreescu said Rinaldi mentioned her 7-0 career record against top-10 players.
Williams is not wearing the black bodysuit she has worn during her dominant night matches during this tournament; instead she opted for a purple dress.
The chair umpire for the final will be Alison Hughes, a veteran official from Britain. Andreescu won the toss, and elected to receive.
Andreescu has had a stunning rise to the top of tennis.
After Andreescu defeated Belinda Bencic in the semifinals on Thursday night, Pam Shriver of ESPN told her in a postmatch interview that a year ago, “I don’t think I’d heard of you.”
It’s difficult for Andreescu to believe it herself. “A year ago, I was in the qualifying round. I remember I was suffering from a back injury, and now what I’ve accomplished this year, I’m honestly speechless,” she said. “I need someone to pinch me right now. Is this real life? Is this real life?”
The 19-year-old Canadian’s rise has been swift. After a stunning victory at Indian Wells in March, Andreescu became the first Canadian in 50 years to win a Rogers Cup final, though an abbreviated one, after Serena Williams retired in the first set because of back spasms.
If Andreescu loses the final, she will be ranked No. 9; she will be No. 5 if she wins.
History is on the line for Serena Williams, again.
This is Williams’s fourth Grand Slam final since she returned to tennis in February 2018 after the birth of her daughter.
Every time, she has had a chance to tie Margaret Court’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles: 24. Every time, Williams has lost. (In fact, she has not won any tournament since the 2017 Australian Open.)
Williams’s recent Grand Slam finals:
That is not the only record in the mix on Saturday. With a win, Williams would have a record seven singles titles at the U.S. Open, breaking her tie with Chris Evert. It would also break her tie with Evert for most singles victories at the tournament. She would have 102 to Evert’s 101.
The final is an intergenerational duel.
Williams will turn 38 this month. Andreescu turned 19 in June and had not yet been born when Williams won her first Grand Slam title, at the U.S. Open in 1999.
This will be the biggest age gap in a women’s Grand Slam singles final in the Open era, which began in 1968. The gap is more than a year wider than the 17 years, 45 days that separated Martina Navratilova from the teenage phenom Monica Seles in the 1991 U.S. Open final, won by Seles. Just a year ago, there was a 16-year gap when Williams lost to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka in an Open final.
Williams is the oldest women’s Grand Slam singles finalist in the Open era. Andreescu is playing only her fourth major tournament and is playing her first Grand Slam final.
Williams and Andreescu have played each other before. Briefly.
Williams and Andreescu have one previous meeting. It lasted 19 minutes.
On Aug. 11, after a great deal of buildup, Williams and Andreescu played in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Williams fell behind by 3-1 and then retired from the match because of a back injury that she had developed in her semifinal match the day before.
“Just my whole back just completely spasmed, and to a point where I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t really move,” she said. “And so I was just trying to figure out, how do you play a match where you have no rotation?”
Andreescu, who grew up in the Toronto suburbs, was the first Canadian woman in 50 years to win the event.
Mattek-Sands and Murray win the mixed doubles title.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands celebrated her second straight United States Open mixed doubles title with Jamie Murray in the manner she knew best — by snapping a grinning selfie before the trophy was even presented.
Mattek-Sands, 34, and Murray, 33, who needed a wild card for entry because Mattek-Sands missed six months this year with her second knee surgery in 18 months, won the title with a 6-2, 6-3 upset of top-seeded Chan Hao-Ching and Michael Venus in just 59 minutes. They became the first mixed doubles team to defend their title since Anne Smith and Kevin Curren won in 1981 and ’82.
Murray, who also won the U.S. Open title with Martina Hingis in 2017, became the first man to win mixed doubles at this tournament three times in a row since Neale Fraser won with Margaret Osborne DuPont from 1958 to 1960. Margaret Court Smith won five consecutive years with four different partners from 1961 to 1965.
Mattek-Sands now owns four major mixed doubles titles and five major women’s doubles, all with Lucie Safarova. She also won Olympic gold in mixed doubles with Jack Sock at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia won the men’s doubles on Friday for their second Grand Slam title this year, after a victory at Wimbledon.
Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty will play Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka for the women’s doubles title on Sunday. — Cindy Shmerler
Christopher Clarey and Naila-Jean Meyers contributed reporting.