US Open 2019: So close, yet so far for Serena – Williams' grand slam final troubles continue

By Sports Desk September 07, 2019

Serena Williams' quest for a 24th grand slam title continues after she succumbed to an inspired performance by teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu in the US Open final.

The 19-year-old Canadian capped an extraordinary rise in 2019 by clinching the final slam of the season at Flushing Meadows with a 6-3 7-5 victory, maintaining her incredible run of having never lost to a top-10 player.

While it was Andreescu this time around, it was Naomi Osaka who beat Williams at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2018, with the 37-year-old having been stuck on 23 victories – one shy of Margaret Court's record – since January 2017.

For a spell in a dramatic second set, it looked as though Williams had the upper hand, but Andreescu held firm to condemn her opponent to a fourth successive grand slam final defeat.

KERBER PROVES TOO MUCH AT WIMBLEDON

Williams was around eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open against her sister Venus in January 2017 and, after pulling out of the Indian Wells and Miami Opens, the then world number one confirmed she was expecting her first child.

She returned to tennis in 2018, making her grand slam comeback at Roland Garros. However, it was at Wimbledon that Williams got back into her grand slam stride, until she met Angelique Kerber, who was in no mood to give up on a chance to clinch a maiden Wimbledon crown and won 6-3 6-3. 

"To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried," said an emotional Williams, just 10 months after giving birth.  

CONTROVERSY OVERSHADOWS OSAKA'S TRIUMPH

Osaka's sensational triumph should have been the main story from the 2018 US Open final, but unfortunately Williams stole the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Williams' tournament ended in controversy, as she received a game penalty in the second set after she had reacted badly to a code violation issued by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

She demanded an apology from Ramos, who Williams accused of being a "liar" and a "thief" after she received a further two violations for smashing her racket and abusing the umpire.

HALEP SHOWS NO MERCY

After a quarter-final defeat in Melbourne and a round-of-32 exit in Paris, Williams returned to grand slam contention as she charged to the final at Wimbledon earlier this year.   But former world number one Simona Halep put in one of the best – if not the best – performances of her career to brush her opponent aside 6-2 6-2, taking just 56 minutes to do so.   "I don't think it's a surprise for anyone to play great against me," Williams said. "When someone plays lights out, there's really not much you can do. You just have to understand that that was their day today."

NO FAIRYTALE IN NEW YORK

A chance at Flushing Meadows redemption came in Saturday's final. Osaka had been reduced to tears at the end of the 2018 final, in part it seemed due to the partisan crowd in Williams' favour that day, with the youngster apologising for beating the fan favourite.

However, despite equally vociferous support at Arthur Ashe, Williams could not muster enough to beat the exceptional Andreescu.

A stunning recovery seemed on when Williams fought back from 5-1 down to draw level in the second set, but Andreescu – who was not born when Williams won the 1999 title – regained her composure to seal a memorable victory on her major final debut.

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    Liverpool maintained their charge for a first Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth, keeping just a third top-flight clean sheet of the season in the process.

    The Reds remain eight points ahead of Leicester City, who saw off Aston Villa 4-1 to make it eight league victories in a row – their best winning run in their top-flight history.

    But defending champions Manchester City are now 14 points adrift of top spot after tasting defeat in their derby showdown with a rejuvenated Manchester United.

    Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho made it three league wins out of four as Tottenham thrashed Burnley to close to within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost 3-1 at Everton.

    There were also wins for Newcastle United and Sheffield United, against Southampton and Norwich City respectively, while Watford played out a goalless draw with Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion took a point off Wolves.

    Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's games.

    DERBY DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST POINTS HAUL

    Pep Guardiola admitted City could not cope with the pace of United's attacking trio of Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in Saturday's clash.

    City fell two goals behind inside half an hour and, despite Nicolas Otamendi pulling one back late on, they fell to a defeat that surely ends their hopes of retaining the title.

    The loss leaves the reigning champions with 32 points - the lowest return of Guardiola's managerial career after 16 matches.

    Kyle Walker refused to wave the white flag, but no English top-flight side has ever gone on to win the title after being as many as 14 points behind the top side at the end of a day.

    As for United, who beat Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday, they are now unbeaten in five Premier League games and have won back-to-back matches for the first time since March.

    CLEAN SHEET BONUS FOR RUNAWAY REDS

    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had extra reason to celebrate his side's win at Bournemouth, having kept a first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions.

    In fact, toothless Bournemouth - now beaten in five successive games for the first time in their top-flight history - managed zero shots on target at the Vitality Stadium.

    Klopp's men have won 24 of their past 25 Premier League matches, including 15 out of 16 this term, and have scored two or more goals in 23 of those past 25 fixtures.

    Naby Keita marked his first league start of the season with a goal and an assist, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah were also on target.

    Salah's goal took him to 63 in 100 Premier League outings, with Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) the only players to score more in their first century of games.

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    Tottenham produced a five-star display in their emphatic triumph against Burnley, who suffered their joint-biggest margin of defeat in the Premier League.

    Mourinho saw Tottenham score five goals in his fourth Premier League game in charge, something Manchester United failed to achieve in 93 league matches under the Portuguese.

    Harry Kane bagged a brace, Lucas Moura scored a sitter and Moussa Sissoko netted for the second home game running, but it was Son Heung-min who stole the show.

    Having earlier set up Kane's opener, Son ran from one box to the other and found the net to make it 15 goal involvements in 15 appearances at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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    VARDY CLOSING IN ON HIS OWN RECORD

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    Ahead of a particularly bleak run of mid-winter fixtures, reports suggested Solskjaer could join Santa in expecting to be burdened with the sack for Christmas. Two games to save his job, some said, with Mauricio Pochettino looming large.

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    December: The month Liverpool's Premier League title bid is supposed to come off the tracks.

    Yet here we are, seven advent calendar chocolates down, numerous Christmas parties already in the books, and Jurgen Klopp's Reds keep adding to their own Carry On series: Carry On Winning.

    The 5-2 victory over Everton on Wednesday was their first of nine games in 26 days across the final month of the year. A festive schedule so packed it might rival the Radio Times' bumper Christmas edition.

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