Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu may seem new to world stage of professional tennis, but the 19-year-old will soon become a household name. After powering her way through the 2019 U.S. Open, she is set to face Serena Williams, 38, at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, she nabbed her first ever Grand Slam title.
If Serena won, it would’ve be her 24th Grand Slam singles trophy, and her 7th U.S. Open win. Last year, Serena was runner-up to budding star Naomi Osaka, who was 20 at the time, a match which most people remember for her argument with umpire Carlos Ramos after he docked her a point, then a game. Now, Serena must face another young phenom in the finals, Andreescu, which is being dubbed a match of the generations. When Serena won her first major, Andreescu hadn’t even been born yet.
Here’s what you need to know about Bianca Andreescu…
1. Andreescu was Ranked No. 243 in the World Last Year
Talk about moving up the ranks at warp speed, only a year ago, Andreescu was ranked No. 243 in the world. Fast forward to Fall 2019, she’s No. 15, with an impressive 44-4 record, and the Canadian star largely credits her coach, Sylvain Bruneau. During a press conference she said, “He’s been with me through the ups and downs. We’ve been working ever since the beginning of 2018, so we’ve been through a lot together.”
However, the admiration is mutual. Bruneau commented on her versatility saying, “She’s a warrior and she’s a street fighter. She strives to compete. I’m a big, big fan of her game. I think she’s got wonderful hands. She understands tennis. She sees the court. She understands the importance of doing different shots, not always the same shot over and over and over again.”
If Andreescu wins the match, she will become ranked No. 5 in the world. If she loses, her rank would’ve been be No. 9.
2. Her Parents Nicu and Maria Andreescu are Her Biggest Fans
Born on June 16, 2000, in Ontario, Canada, Bianca aka “Bibi” moved with her parents, Nicu and Maria Andreescu, to their native country of Romania, where she started played tennis at age seven. The family moved back to Canada when she was 11, and Andreescu began training with Tennis Canada’s U14 Nation Training Center for the 2011-2012 season.
Between 2014 and 2016, she dominated the juniors circuit, and turned pro in 2017. That same year, she qualified for Wimbledon, but didn’t make it past the qualifying rounds to compete in any major in 2018. Throughout her career, Maria, who’s a compliance officer at Global Maxfin Inc, and Nicu, an automotive engineer, have supported their daughter. The couple can always be seen court side, cheering her on, along with their dog, Coco.
3. Andreescu Won Her First Title Because Serena Had to Retire
The U.S. Open isn’t the first time Andreescu is facing Serena, the two faced each other at the 2019 Rogers Cup finals in Canada. In August, Williams was battling a back injury, suffered debilitating back spasms, and was forced to retire in the first set while trailing 3-1.
By default, Andreescu was named the winner, and became the first Canadian to win the Rogers Cup since 1969. While Serena was obviously unhappy with the results, Andreescu approached her while she was crying to give her a hug and said, “You’re freakin’ beast.” Afterward, she posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “I wish you a speedy recovery @serenawilliams. I know you’ll be back in no time.”
4. Andreescu Shares a Record with Venus Williams
Being that this is Andreescu’s first time playing the U.S. Open, she is the first player to make it this far in her debut since Venus Williams, the sister of her finals opponent. In 1997, Venus made it to the finals and was the runner-up. If Andreescu defeats Serena, she will have a new record all to her own. She is already the first Canadian woman to proceed to the singles final at the U.S. Open., which earned her a shout out from Billie Jean King.
When it comes to playing against Serena, arguably one the best athletes in the entire sport of tennis, Andreescu was at a loss for words. She said, “It’s just surreal. Like, I really don’t know what to say. I watched her win most of her Grand Slam titles. I think she’s fighting for her 24th on Saturday. I’m sure she’s going to bring her A-game. I’m going to try to bring my A-game, too. Hopefully, I guess, may the best player win.”
5. Andreescu is the Comeback Queen of the U.S Open
While Andreescu is clearly having the tournament of her life, she hasn’t completely dominated each of her matches. However, during her last five semifinal’s games, she made comeback win after trailing 5-2. Andreescu defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic before making it the finals.
Even Andreescu herself is impressed that she’s still in it. “If someone told me a year ago that I would be in the finals of the US Open this year, I would have told them, ‘You’re crazy,'” But her coach remains confident. Bruneau said, “I strongly hope, and I’m pretty confident she’s going to step in the arena tomorrow, both feet in, and going at it. Obviously there is another player (Serena) on the court who is going to have her say in this match, but I’m pretty sure Bianca is going to be able to go and will go in there with the right frame of mind.”