Though Bianca Andreescu was expected to be a formidable opponent, it was Serena Williams who was favored to win the US Open Tennis Championships finals in New York City on September 7, 2019. The 37-year-old US tennis phenom is after all an experienced veteran, with 23 Grand Slam titles to her name. Meanwhile, prior to 2019, her 19-year-old challenger had never even reached the finals of the four prestigious tournaments — the US Open, the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the French Open — that comprise the Grand Slam. But in a true-life underdog story, Bianca managed to oust Serena with a resounding 6-3, 7-5 victory in less than two hours.
"It's so hard to explain in words, but I’m just beyond grateful and truly blessed," Bianca said on the court. "I’ve worked really, really hard for this moment. This year has been a dream come true and now being able to play on this stage against Serena, a true legend of this sport, is amazing."
The teenager, who stopped Serena's bid for a 24th Grand Slam title to equal the 46-year-old record held by Margaret Court, made history in numerous ways. She is the first-ever Canadian man or woman to win a major singles tournament and the first teen to win the championship since Maria Sharapova won at the age of 17 in 2006. Bianca is also the only Grand Slam winner born in the 2000s and only the third woman ever to reach a majors final on her debut attempt.
Bianca's victory, which took place in front of 26,191 spectators in Arthur Ashe Stadium is even more remarkable given that for the last two years, she had lost in the first qualifying rounds. However, 2019 looked more promising after the then 178th-ranked Bianca beat Caroline Wozniacki (ranked 17) and Venus Williams (ranked 56) to reach the WTA Auckland Open finals in New Zealand. Bianca's winning streak continued at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, when she beat the number 8 seeded Angelique Kerber in the finals. However, shortly after, a shoulder injury forced the teenager to retire in the fourth round of the Miami Open and prevented her from playing in the French Open and Wimbledon. Bianca returned to the court in early August 2019 to take the Rogers Cup in Toronto against Serena Williams, who was forced to retire midway through the finals due to back spasms.
Bianca, who took home $3.85 million from the win, attributes her success to meditating and a mock check she wrote to herself for the amount of the US Open prize money after winning the Orange Bowl in 2015. The youngster updated the amount each year to match that of the coveted cup and imagined winning the tournament against — you guessed it — Serena Williams.
"I started meditating and visualizing ever since I was 12 or 13 when my mum introduced it to me, and I know it wasn't such a big thing back then, but now it's getting more popular because I think if you can control your mind, then you can control a lot of things," she said. "I think that's what's been working really well for me. I just kept doing that."
Despite achieving both her dreams, Bianca is not resting on her laurels. After a brief break to enjoy her victory, the young champion from Mississauga, Ontario, plans on returning to the action at the Beijing Open in late September. We have a feeling this young champion has already visualized the tournament and opponent she next wants to conquer.
Resources: USAtoday.com. TheAtlantic.com,Forbes.com, ESPN.com