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US Open: Williams' hopes for 24th Grand Slam title dashed

US OPEN: Serena Williams

BIANCA ANDREESCU became the first Grand Slam winner born this century after stunning veteran Serena Williams in the US Open on Saturday (September 7).

The Canadian teenager captured the crown on her main draw debut at Flushing Meadows with a comfortable 6-3 7-5 success, to inflict yet another major final defeat on Williams.

For Williams, heavily backed by the New York crowd on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam Singles title was dashed for the fourth time since she claimed the 2017 Australian Open.

And the legend once more was left with the bitter taste of a straight sets Grand Slam final reversal, having failed to win a set in the showdown finale both last year and 12 months later at Wimbledon and the US Open respectively.

The 37-year-old had waltzed through the tournament and dropped just a single set and only been broken three times ahead of her face-off with rising star Andreescu.

Williams was the overwhelming favourite to lift the Crown as a six-time champion at Flushing Meadows. This was in stark contrast to Andreescu, who had lost in the opening qualifying round at last year's tournament.

Former world no.1 Williams, whose tactics primarily rely on just power and speed, made a poor start with her usually dependable serve and solid groundstrokes deserting her to soon trail 3-1.

With Williams managing to get in only half of her first serves during a shocking opening set, her 19-year-old opponent was swift to dominate the net and build a comfortable advantage.

The first set statistics for hapless Williams made grim reading, she produced 14 unforced errors and made four double faults.

Andreescu outclassed the US icon to storm into a 5-1 lead by cleverly mixing up the pace, employing cheeky drop shots - Williams' bête noire - and thumping groundstrokes.

Despite reaching match point, the relatively inexperienced Andreescu allowed Williams to somehow claw her way back into the contest until the veteran was broken for a sixth time to gift the teen queen an incredible triumph.

Williams keeps falling at the final hurdle in her attempt to tie Margaret Court’s 46-year record of winning 24 major titles.

Yet for her opponent it has been a meteoric rise to be crowned Canada’s inaugural Grand Slam singles champion. Andreescu was outside the world's top 100 at the start of an injury-hit season and following her remarkable success will be elevated to no.5 when the WTA Tour rankings are released tomorrow (September 9).

Andreescu became the first teenage Grand Slam Singles champion since Russia's Maria Sharapova in 2006, and it was 20 years ago that Williams was a teen sensation after she picked up her maiden major Singles title - at Flushing Meadows.

With 22 further Grand Slam titles since Williams scooped the 1999 US Open, a record-equalling major title seems elusive. However, the American legend will get another shot at January's Australian Open.

Having reached four out of the past six Slam finals, Williams will be vying not to let another major slip through her fingers and will have time during December's off season to evaluate how she can finally make history.

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