(NEW YORK) — Canadian Bianca Andreescu beat U.S. tennis star Serena Williams in straight sets to win the U.S. Open womens’ finals on Saturday.
Andreescu, who is 19, bested Williams 6-3, 7-5.
“I’m worked really, really hard for this moment. This year has been a dream come true,” Andreescu said after the match, calling Williams “a legend of this sport.”
But she jokes that while Williams was a formidable opponant, her biggest obstacle to victory was the crowd, which was firmly in Williams’ camp.
“I know you guys wanted Serena to win, so I’m so sorry,” she said with a smile.
Williams, who was vying for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title and her first since giving birth to daughter Olympia two years ago, applauded Andreescu for playing an “unbelievable match.”
“I’m just so proud that I’m still out here and competing at this level because it’s not easy to be in this particular sport for 20 years,” Williams said.
She thanked her team for helping her through the ups and, lately, the” downs and downs and downs and downs and downs.” But Williams added, “Hopefully, we’ll have some ups soon!”
And she expressed gratitude to the fans.
“Honestly, the fans started cheering so hard… I was really grateful for that,” Williams said.
Among those in the stands was Williams’ close friend Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, who took a last-minute flight from London. Meghan was seated between Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena’s coach, and Serena’s mother Oracene Price, at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Meghan and Williams have been friends since meeting at the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami.
Williams was ranked No. 1 in the world when she went on maternity leave but has not won a Grand Slam since giving birth to her daughter in 2017.
After Williams spoke out about the unfairness of women players being penalized because of maternity leave, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) changed its rules to add more protections for moms on the tour.
Williams lost last year’s U.S. Open in a tense and controversial match against Naomi Osaka. More recently, she made it to this year’s Wimbledon final in July but lost in straight sets to seventh-seed Simona Halep.
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