“I was feeling many, many things before the match, more than any other match,” Andreescu said. “In the final, playing Serena. I just tried to breathe as much as I could from the moment I woke up until the match. I tried to just do that throughout the whole match, to just keep my nerves in place. It wasn’t easy at all. But I think that’s what I’ve been doing really well throughout this whole year.”
“I think there are some similarities,” the Canadian said while comparing her playing style with Williams’ game. “We like to keep the points short with our aggressive game style. We like to use our serve to our advantage.”
“But at the same time I want to make a name for myself. I know I have a different game style than many players on the tour right now. It’s been working really, really well. It’s been working to my advantage. I just want to keep improving it.”
The 37-year-old Williams was underperforming for the most of the match, finishing with 33 winners but also having 33 unforced errors to only 17 by Andreescu.
Dropping just one set en route to the final, Williams, who spent more than one year away from the sport to get married and give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia, looked rusty at the beginning of the final.
The American great led 40-15 in her first service game but finally got broken by her much younger opponent. Williams had five break points in the seventh game, but was unable to convert on all of them.
Andreescu then held serve and broke Williams for the second time in the ninth game to take the first set at 6-3.
The second set looked similar to the first one, with Williams being broken in her first service game. The Canadian player then seized her momentum and stormed to a 5-1 lead.
However, to a noisy audience in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Williams stepped up her game and powered her way back to level it at 5-5 after taking two breaks.
“I had some doubts because I’ve witnessed her come back from being 5-1 down,” Andreescu said of the crucial moments. “I just told myself to stick with my tactics. I told myself to put the goddamn ball inside the court and just breathe as much as I could.”
Andreescu finally shrugged off her doubts, holding serve and breaking Williams again to claim the set at 7-5.
Coming into the final, Williams was making her fourth attempt to tie Australian great Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam women’s titles, but finished runner-up at the last two Wimbledon Championships and two consecutive US Open finals.
Williams lost to Japanese star Naomi Osaka in last year’s US Open final.
“I was just fighting at that point, just trying to stay out there a little bit longer,” Williams said. “Bianca played a wonderful match. I just feel really honored to be out here and competing at this level.”
When Williams claimed her first Grand Slam title at 1999 US Open, Andreescu was not even born. The frustration at finishing the tournament another runner-up trophy is still too fresh for her.
“It’s really hard right now to take that moment in and to say you did okay, because I don’t believe I did. I believe I could have played better. I believe I could have done more,” Williams said.
“I believe I could have just been more Serena today. I honestly don’t think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in Grand Slam finals.”