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Andreescu becomes first teenager in a decade to reach US Open semi-finals

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 5 Sep 2019
  • Andreescu beats Mertens in three sets to reach first major semi-final
  • The 19-year-old is the first teenager since 2009 to make the final four
  • She's also the first Canadian to reach this stage in New York since 1984
Bianca Andreescu (PA Images)

Bianca Andreescu’s magical breakout season hit fresh heights on Wednesday night as the Canadian teenager advanced into a first Grand Slam semi-final at the U.S. Open with a three-set win over 24th seed Elise Mertens.

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Andreescu became the first teenager since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009 to reach the U.S. Open semi-finals after coming from behind to beat former Australian Open semi-finalist Elise Mertens.

The 19-year-old got better as the match went on to conquer the Belgian by a 3-6 6-2 6-3 scoreline under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium to set up a semi-final showdown with 13th seed Belinda Bencic and become the first Canadian to advance to the final four at Flushing Meadows since 1984.

Andreescu has now won her last 12 three-set matches and improved to an incredible 43-4 in all competitions for the season. The Canadian was ranked No. 243 less than a year ago, but she is now projected to break into the top 10 after the U.S. Open.

"This is honestly so crazy," she said in her on-court interview after the match. "A year ago I was in the qualifying round. I was suffering from a back injury. And now, what I’ve accomplished this year, I’m speechless.
"I need someone to pinch me right now. Is this real life?"

It certainly is. The 19-year-old, who beat Taylor Townsend in three sets in her debut match on Ashe in the previous round, started slowly as she struggled to find her range against the consistent Mertens, who was showcasing a perfect balance of consistency and aggressiveness in the opening set.

Bianca Andreescu (PA Images)
However, as she has done so often this season, Andreescu’s competitive instinct kicked into gear, and with it she found her game as her power and weight of shot began to gradually push Mertens further and further behind the baseline.

Andreescu got on top midway through the second set, and although the pair went on serve until 3-3 in the decider, it was the Canadian who was dictating proceedings. Andreescu upped the ante to break Mertens at 4-3 and made no mistake serving out the match to secure her spot in the semi-finals.

“Elise, she played really really well, so I just tried to stay as calm as possible because I was getting a little bit irritated because I didn’t think I was playing my best tennis (early in the match),” Andreescu said.
“I just told myself to just stay calm and stick to the tactics, which I think really helped in the second and third set.”

The 19-year-old is looking to replicate what Naomi Osaka did last year and win the Indian Wells and U.S. Open titles in the same season. Andreescu, who also won the Rogers Cup title last month, is a perfect 7-0 against top 10 players in 2019 and hasn’t been defeated in a completed match since late February when Sofia Kenin edged her in the Acapulco semi-finals.

Andreescu also credited her extraordinary record in three-set matches this year to an improved fitness regime.

“I’ve been working a lot on my fitness and my mental strength. So I think it’s just all the hard work I’ve been putting in,” she said.

Andreescu will face Bencic for a spot in the final on Thursday night. Their match will take place after the first semi-final from 7.00pm local time (12.00am BST), which will see Serena Williams take on Elina Svitolina.


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Andreescu becomes first teenager in a decade to reach US Open semi-finals

Bianca Andreescu’s magical breakout season hit fresh heights on Wednesday night as the Canadian teenager advanced into a first Grand Slam semi-final at the U.S. Open with a three-set win over 24th seed Elise Mertens.

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