Serena Williams played an unwelcome supporting role in a bit of tennis history by losing the final of the 2019 U.S. Open to Bianca Andreescu.
Andreescu is the first player from Canada to win a major singles title.
Notice that we did not say Canadian woman, nor further adjective beyond Canadian was necessary.
Williams won her first major in 1999, the year before Andreescu was born.
This is the second consecutive year that Williams has lost the final of the U.S. Open and it would seem that the voodoo doll of Williams sitting on the mantle of Margaret Court has yet another pin in it.
Williams needs one more major to tie Court’s 24, but time is running low. She has played seven majors since returning from the 2017 birth of her child and she has been runner-up four times.
It had all the appearances of a walkover for the 19-year-old player from Canada. Playing in her first major final, she took the first set comfortably, 6 – 3.
Andreescru went up 5 – 1 in the second set before the typical Williams determination kicked in.
The outcome for Andreescru was 6 – 3, 7 – 5.
“I was just fighting at that point,” said the six-time U.S. Open champion. “Just trying to stay out there a little bit longer.”
Many of Williams’ opponents have said similar over the past two decades, but few have stuck around for that little bit longer.
More history: Andreescru became the first woman to win the U.S. Open during the Open era, which started in 1968, when professional tennis players were permitted to enter and play the sacred four Grand Slam tournaments.
Three of Margaret Court’s five U.S. Open victories, four of her Australian Opens, three of the French Open wins and one of her Wimbledon titles came before those who played tennis for a living were permitted to compete in Grand Slam events.
For Williams, it is the universal issue of wearing a target for younger and younger players who relish the opportunity to defeat a legend before it is too late.
We could speculate that we might be writing a similar epitaph for Andreescru in 2039, but we might be dead by then, but well before that time, our occupation well be performed by robots that never make spelling and grammar errors.