Bianca Andreescu hails from a city most non-Canadians couldn’t pronounce, let alone spell, yet the 19-year-old Mississauga native seems to be on the lips of every tennis fan in the world.
After defeating Serena Williams in the Rogers Cup in August, Andreescu returned to beat the former No. 1 in two sets at the U.S. Open Finals on Saturday.
Canadians celebrated from coast to coast, tweeting their congratulations to Andreescu and bragging about the country’s recent string of championships, including the Raptors’ victory in June.
Canadian coverage was suffused with pride, but coverage elsewhere was more mixed — including an accusation by one ESPN writer that Andreescu was acting “borderline cocky” during the match.
Let’s take a look at the most important takes, and what the rest of world is saying about us — and, more importantly, Bianca.
A player of, and for, the future
Maitreyi Anantharaman of Deadspin wrote that Andreescu’s “exquisite marriage of style and power, and her devastating forehand, trumped (Williams’s) experience.”
Andreescu’s talents were also praised by Joel Drucker for Tennis.com, who wrote that she balanced youthful energy with calmness, and that Andreescu will likely be “a major force in tennis all through her 20s.”
The 19-year-old Andreescu, who didn’t even make it to the 2018 U.S. Open main draw, was so new to the whole winning thing that, according to Reuters, a “tournament official had to show her which side of the trophy was the front.”
But on the court, she showed no signs of inexperience.
As Louisa Thomas wrote in the New Yorker, over the last year (and especially on Saturday) Andreescu’s showcased “the kind of competitive intensity and unapologetic swagger usually reserved for a few legends of the game.”
What happened to Serena?
Much of the American coverage had less to do with Andreescu’s victory, and more to do with Williams’s loss.
Jeremy Bembry of ESPN’s The Undefeated called Andreescu “borderline cocky” in his analysis of the match, but also praised her “quick and concise” shot selection.
Bembry also questioned if Williams had anything left after dropping “four straight majors over the past two years,” and if Williams’s recent fumbles signalled a new era for women’s tennis — one in which Andreescu may well be front and centre.
Against Andreescu, Clarey wrote, Williams “made too many unforced errors (33 in all), double-faulted on break points three times to lose her serve, and put only 44 per cent of her first serves in play.”
But it wasn’t simply a matter of Williams slipping, he wrote.
During the match, Andreescu was both intense and loose, nimble and strong. In short: exactly what was needed to defeat Williams.
Andreescu “could so easily have cracked,” wrote Clarey. “She started out superbly, striking the ball cleanly even though she admitted feeling intimidated by Williams … And yet she danced and sang to herself, headphones in place, in the tunnel leading to the court and then matched Williams’s power and intensity from the start.”
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Onwards and upwards
In a post-game clip, Andreescu thanked “everyone at home” for supporting her through the Open. She said it gives her “extra motivation” and “really pumps her up to do even better.”
For now, Andreescu has a few days off to celebrate, and soak in the historic victory along with the rest of the country.