This time, there was no controversy.
For the second year in a row, Serena Williams’ quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title was denied in the U.S. Open final by a much younger opponent.
This time, it was 19-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu who won her first major title Saturday, defeating the 37-year-old Williams 6-3, 7-5.
Andreescu appeared to be cruising to a routine win before Williams fought off a match point at 5-1 in the second set, then ripped off the next four games to make Andreescu earn the title in front of a partisan, pro-Williams crowd at Flushing Meadows. Andreescu was even forced to cover her ears after one point as the spectators roared Williams back into the match.
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Andreescu stopped the bleeding with a service hold to go back in front 6-5, then broke Williams’ serve for the sixth time to clinch the victory. Williams saved a second match point, but could not save a third, as Andreescu pounded a forehand for her 18th and final winner of the match.
After sharing an embrace with a smiling Williams at the net, Andreescu kissed the blue court inside Arthur Ashe Stadium and rolled onto her back, soaking in the applause.
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The final was hard-fought but was blessedly free of incidents like the dispute between Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos that marred her 2018 final loss to Naomi Osaka. It also marked a breakthrough moment for Andreescu, who had never advanced past the third round in any Grand Slam event before and had failed to qualify for the main draw in either of her previous two U.S. Opens.
Williams has now been the runner-up at four of the seven majors she has entered since returning to the tour after having a baby two years ago. In addition to the record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, Williams was also denied a seventh U.S. Open title, which would have been the most in the Open era of tennis, which dates back to 1968.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.