Andreescu Fends Off Mertens and Draws One Step Closer to Serena Finals

I tip my hat to both of these young women. Elise Mertens did not just fold in the third set, coming back from 15-40, 2-3 to hold serve and almost climbing back from love-40 at 3-4 only to lose the game on an Andreescu forehand winner. The Belgian, who had not lost more than three games in any of the 8 sets she had won during the first four rounds of the US Open without dropping a set, is also in the women’s doubles semis. But she did not play well at the net in this match.

Andreescu, the 19-year-old Canadian, has had a dream draw rolling into the semis versus Belinda Bencic. But Andreescu had to win third sets in her last two matches. Andreescu looked winded against Mertens who ran down a lot of balls. The Romanian-Canadian best attribute is her ability to go for her shots under pressure. She showed uncanny touch during the Mertens match and a nice lob when the Belgian tracked down Andreescu’s deft drop shots.

The Serena-Svitolina semis is the more appealing match to me over Andreescu-Bencic, but both should be tightly contested lifting the women’s game here when most of the top contenders like Halep, Keys, Stephens and Kerber were all knocked out early in the tournament. The dream finals is the finals the Canadian Open had, but only saw four games of, Serena-Andreescu. The big question in that match would be can the cocky teenager once again unglue the greatest women’s champion the game has ever seen once again seemingly in top form.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · September 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    14 straight 3 set wins for Andreescu. That could be some kind of a record. I can’t see Andreescu losing, she does not choke, she plays her best when she needs it. Bencic is a danger but we know her history, she’s failed every time in the past. Not saying she can’t win a major but Bibi is ahead of her. Serena is 4-1 vs Svitolina. Make it 5-1. GEMS life parallels will subconsciously force Svitolina to not outshine her future husband.

  • catherine · September 5, 2019 at 1:02 am

    Keys, Stephens and Kerber were never contenders.

  • Jeff · September 5, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Scoop, I think Serena will subconsciously tank vs. Svitolina. She knows that Bianca looms in the final and already faked an injury to avoid losing to her. Losing to Bianca in another final could damage her career, just playing in a second straight Open final will fray her nerves and perhaps put her on the verge of another mental breakdown.

    I always thought she tanked that Pliskova match. Serena wants no part of rising champions, as she showed when Naomi was dominating her. Then it puts Patrick in the spotlight again. I believe Svitolina will win this semifinal and get drubbed by Bianca on Saturday.

    Bencic needs to change her game in order to stay in the match. Get Bianca out of her comfort zone. I just don’t think she can pull it off.

    Bianca is a great champion, no doubt about it. Congrats to Canada for sure.

  • catherine · September 5, 2019 at 1:07 am

    Jeff- you said Barty would win so I wouldn’t put money on this. I still think Serena will take it. Bianca must be exhausted. Serena’s been lucky with her draw to now.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 5, 2019 at 3:15 am

    Serena’s been lucky with her draw? Andreescu’s draw hasn’t exactly been a Murderer’s Row either: Volynets, Flipkens, Wozniaki, Townsend and Mertens. One could argue, Serena having to play Sharapova, McNally, Wang (who beat Barty) and Martic (and now Svitolina) is a tougher draw.

    Keys was most definitely a threat to win this Open. She won Cincy and she was cruising through the draw looking very impressive until she lost a tough match to Svitolina. You guys don’t know how champions think and react. They don’t have sub-conscious losses. Serena is chomping at the bit to play Svitolina and Andreescu. You ask Serena in her heart of hearts who she wants to play in the finals and if its not Osaka it’s Andreescu. And she will beat Andreescu rather easily too. Champions aren’s afraid.

  • catherine · September 5, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Sharapova ? Nothing. Wang – lasted 44 mins. McNally – young and inexperienced. Serena may not play Bianca. And champions do get afraid. They get over it but they feel it. My bet – Patrick makes a fool of himself.

    You have special knowledsge of how champions think and react ? My view is they all react differently. And no, I don’t think Keys was a threat. Not once she met someone who played her own game better than she does.

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 7:14 am

    I don’t know if Bianca will beat Bencic to get to the final, but if both she and Serena do make it, I don’t think Serena will beat Bianca “rather easily,” although I do think Serena is the obvious favourite. But Serena has lost in Slams this year, so there is no guarantee she will win this one, whether she faces Belinda or Bianca. And of course she has to get through Svitolina in the SF.

    Bianca feels she has not played her best tennis in this tourney. So she has that valuable skill of finding a way to win even when she doesn’t have her best stuff.

    “I’m going to be honest. I don’t think I played my best tennis,” she said “I just fought really well with what I had every single day. I think that’s the most important thing for me, and I’m sure for every athlete, you’re not going to have good days every day.

    So I just try my best to figure out what’s going well and what’s not and just go from there.”

  • Dan Markowitz · September 5, 2019 at 8:00 am

    As a matter of fact I do have an idea how champions think, Catherine. I played on the pro tour. In one tournament I played in in Portugal, the no. 1 seed was Luke Jensen. The year was 1987, the summer, and Jensen had just come off an All-American year at USC. He had been the #1 junior in the world in singles and doubles in 1984. I remember hearing him tell a group of players that he was bummed to be in Portugal playing a Futures when his buddy Andre Agassi was already playing and doing well in ATP tournaments. Great players want to play with great players and they believe they can beat great players. That’s partially why they are great players.

    I was with Spadea in 2005 I believe it was when he played Federer in the third round of the US Open in Armstrong after just destroying Jonas Bjorkman. I asked Spadea before the match as we were hanging out if he really felt he could beat Federer and he said without hesitation, “Yes.” And Spadea wasn’t even a great player, but he believed in himself and he didn’t go into matches when he was prepared worrying he was going to lose.

    I guarantee you Serena wants to play Andreescu in the finals and she thinks she can beat her. She might be twice as old as Andreescu; she still wants her and wants to beat her. She doesn’t want to play Belinda Bencic. Where’s the glam in that finals matchup?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 5, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Dan, you seem to have forgotten that Agassi said in his book he lost to Chang on purpose at US Open to avoid losing to Becker, who he detested. He knew he wasn’t ready to play Becker and lost to Chang to avoid giving Becker the satisfaction. We have seen Federer lose numerous times before a looming showdown with Djokovic, I have noticed this. So without question, even great champions subconsciously or consciously lose to avoid a loss to another great they have a fierce rivalry with. With Serena, I believe she would rather play Bencic, because she has beaten her many times and lost just once, which in her mind she can call a fluke. I am reasonably sure Serena does not want to play Andreescu, for many reasons. Young, fearless, complex game, mentally strong, already beat her recently and she saw her strong personality and character up close and she knows there is no chance of her intimidating Andreescu or making her choke. I don’t think Serena will subconsciously tank to Svitolina, she can handle. Serena will take her chances and hope for a miracle in the final vs Andreescu who should handle Bencic. But who knows, Bencic is in a zone right now. Love these matchups, hopefully Svitolina will put up a fight and not roll over like a dog, like Wang did.

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 9:23 am

    One good thing about Bianca having such a strong season is winning all that prize $. She has added a full-time physio to her team, along with her coach and trainer. Now she can afford for her parents and pup, Coco, to travel with her.

    Also in her player box was the Fed Cup captain, the beautiful Heidi El Tabakh, who can bring her own experience to the table.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 5, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Qiang Wang has made history for China, at this US Open, she is now the second highest rank Chinese player ever after Li Na…
    Na LI No. 2
    Qiang WANG 12
    Shuai PENG 14
    Jie ZHENG 15
    Shuai ZHANG 23
    Fang LI 36
    Saisai ZHENG #37
    Zi YAN #40

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Will post this here, since this is the active thread.

    It looks like the rumours of a romance between Ajla Tomlijanovic, Kyrgios’ former girlfriend, and Matteo Berrettini are true. They were at Matteo’s favourite NY restaurant, he rooted for her during an early round match, and she was in his player box during his match with Rublev.

  • Jeff · September 5, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Yes, Barty was a bad pick though I think she subconsciously tanked to avoid Serena once she saw Serena was rolling.

    Kyrgios has moved on and is chasing Anisimova now. Congrats to Alja on the romance with Berretini.

    I expect some shenanigans in the women’s semifinals as to who has the mental edge for sure. Svitolina handled Serena in the Olympics and knows how to combat her.

    No comments on Jack Sock’s stunning doubles loss? Kyrgios had tipped him to win it all.

  • catherine · September 5, 2019 at 10:49 am

    There’s a long list of Kyrgios ‘former girlfriends’ 🙂 Who’s the lucky lady now ?

  • catherine · September 5, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Jeff- someone commented on Sock’s loss. Maybe on another thread. Threads are overlapping with so much going on.

    Barty ‘subconsciously tanked’ ? I can’t stop laughing.

    Did Kerber ‘subconsciously tank’ because she had a look at the draw ? Anything’s possible.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 5, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Withrow is unproven in majors, Sock is also not at the caliber he was before the thumb injury, my source said his thumb is still swollen and not 100%.

  • catherine · September 5, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Simona has withdrawn from Zgenzhou – or however you spell it – with an ankle injury. I would bet this is strategic – she’s still recovering from Wimbledon.

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    The Romanian poster on MCM (Match Call Migrants) mentioned that. He was skeptical there was a real injury. He said that Simona does not usually do well in the Asian swing.

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Kyrgios girlfriends and whatever girls he slanders tend to do well on tour post Kyrgios. He just motivates people to show him up. Tomljanovic looked tough in her matches and Vekic, subject to one of Kyrgios worst slanders, made the quarters. Both out-classed him.

    Maybe Kyrgios is making WTA players better than ever.

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Serena may not beat Svito. Svito is playing great and determined tennis.

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Svito vs. Bencic. You heard it here first.

  • catherine · September 5, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Andrew – there’ll be a lot of returned tickets for a Serena-less final. Half empty Stadium for that match. Ukrainians and a smattering of Swiss.

    I agree Belinda can beat Bianca – maybe start a rivalry between the lookalikes. Bianca has to lose sometime.

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Andrew, are you trying to be controversial or is this a serious prediction?

    Although at this point I’m inclined to believe that anything is possible.

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Yes, Svito’s form is good in a tournament she loves, and Bencic hasn’t skipped a beat. Predictions mean nothing of course, but Serena feels a lot of pressure and in Bencic, Andreescu has an excellent opponent that’s game for a big match against a big match player.

    I’ll stick with this. If it’s Serena’s moment again it’s Serena’s moment again. But there’s something to be said about a Svito that’s got that look in her eye, and a player finding her form at the right time. If it’s Andreescu moment it’s her moment.

    They will duke it out. But I like what I’ve seen from Svito against players belting the ball and from Bencic with her versatile game. Andreescu hasn’t played herself yet. In Bencic, she has a mirror image

  • Dan Markowitz · September 5, 2019 at 3:53 pm


    You’re kidding, right? Bencic and Andreescu are mirror images? No way! Bencic is the conventional baseline ripper while Andreescu has much more variety and comes up to the net much more than Bencic. Although I haven’t seen Bencic play in this event, but I can’t imagine her game has changed so much.

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Dan, I might make too much of Bencic’s ability to wrong foot opponents and the nice touch she shows at times. Probably a mistake on my parent to equate an unpredictable game, which is Andreescu, with a game that shows a lot of polish, which is Bencic.

    The women’s game I think is more or less all court these days. I don’t think Bencic will be so surprised by the Andreescu game and should have more than a few answers of her own. If Andreescu wins hey, good for her.

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    TSN just had an interview with Darren Cahill. He thinks Belinda will be Bianca’s toughest test, but that Bianca will win.

    I have no idea who will win this match, but am hoping for the best.

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Andrew, I think there are a few more WTA players with an all-court game, but they are still in the minority. So many WTA players are still basically allergic to the net.

    Christopher Clarey had an article on January 12 about players that he thought brought more variety.

    “Several of these tennis “artists” will be seeded at the Australian Open: No. 10 Daria Kasatkina of Russia, No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, No. 15 Ashleigh Barty of Australia, and No. 28 Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan, a 33-year-old whose double-handed, frequently off-speed strokes are as crafty as they come. There is also Jabeur, still an outsider but whose game is a crowd-pleasing mix of baseline punch, feathery touch and Federer-esque flourishes.”

    To those names we can add Andreescu and Townsend, plus a few others. But these players are still rarer than the more one-dimensional players – both those who rely on power and those who rely on defense.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 5, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    No subconscious tank from Serena. Let’s see if Andreescu also is able now to stay away from the subconscious tank.

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    My prediction failed, Serena d. Svito. And badly! Seventy minutes. So much for Svito prep against players that hit a big ball!

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Hartt, fine writing from Clarey! He’s very solid and that’s a nice excerpt. And true on the additional players such as Andreescu. It’s good too, when more coaches see this as a viable way of playing they’ll try to figure it out.

    That said so few players “play” like Serena. I think Bouzkova plays a little like Kvitova, with worse instincts but a nice aggressive and thoughtful game nonetheless.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 5, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Bencic really pushing Andreescu early in match. Two thoughts: never has a player lost in first round of Qualis ever in two preceding years and then made women’s semis. Was Andreescu always this big? She’s a real powerhouse. She’s making Bencic look very feminine in comparison.

    What’s wit Andreescu’s mom? She looks very strange like she either doesn’t understand tennis or she’s trying to parlay her daughter’s success into some kind of big hair fashionista statement. Hi

  • Jeff · September 5, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Well that was a tremendous win for Serena. There was talk on Reddit that Svitolina may subconsciously let down after Monfils’ loss but I do not think that was the case. Of course, you never know.

    Isn’t it crazy that the teenage sensation McNally is the only one to take a set off her?

    It’s a shame so many fans left after that semi since this Andreescu-Bencic match has been good. Should the Canadian win as we all expect, she will be in for an earful from Serena’s crazed fans Saturday. The one guarantee I have is that it will be a female chair umpire to shut up all the lunatic feminists.

    Speaking of Canada, the Canadian-born Farah is into the doubles final along with Cabal. That was a great semifinal as the Wimbledon champs look to add to their trophy case and give Canada a little more glory.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 5, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    You could hear the sigh of relief by the USTA that Serena is in the final, it’s a difference of millions of dollars in revenues and TV ratings etc with Serena in the final instead of Svitolina. Ashe will be full instead of half full. Was disappointed by Svitolina’s effort, almost looked like she wanted to go home with her other half. Serena is looking great though.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 5, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Maybe a subconscious tank by Svitolina?

  • Jeff · September 5, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Maybe the USTA gave her some incentive to play like that. Yeah there is talk tha Elina subconsciously let down after Monfils’ loss. Wonder if she was asked this.

  • Hartt · September 5, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Bianca, with that never give up fighting spirit, manages to pull out the win tonight in SS! 🙂

    I think she actually has a shot at the title!

  • Andrew Miller · September 5, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    Well I’m 0-2. Thought Bencic would pull rank here. Thought Svito would prove herself as she had all tournament long. Here we are post Canada, and the match that didn’t finish is the one we get.

    Andreescu has now equally Bouchard’s best slam performance while taking the Canada title.

  • Jeff · September 5, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    What a heavyweight showdown we have Saturday. Canada vs USA like in Olympic hockey. Serena with all the pressure having stumbled in past finals. Bianca with no pressure and believing she is the better player. In front of a rowdy, obnoxious crowd of New Yorkers and Serena diehards looking to put off the Canadian at every turn.

    Can it get any bigger than this? I don’t think so. This is a better final than any possible matchup in the men’s tournament by a mile. I think women’s tennis is back with a vengeance.

  • Jon King · September 5, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    I’m surprised with comments such as “what is with Andreescu’s mom”. Tennis is a global sport and you would think a tennis site would get that. She is from Romania, fashion and culture are totally different in various parts of the world. We love dogs, Koreans eat them, we milk cows, some others worship them. So yeah, Andrescu’s mom dresses and acts differently than a mom from Kansas. Whatever.

  • Hartt · September 6, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Bianca is raising the interest in tennis in Canada to a new level. If she wins the USO the country will go nuts!

    “Nearly 3.2 million Canadians watched some part of TSN’s broadcast. Audiences peaked at 1.3 million viewers at 9:24 p.m. ET as Andreescu closed out the three-set victory, sealing her spot in the #USOpen

    To put this into context, the country’s population is 35 million.

  • Hartt · September 6, 2019 at 12:42 am

    It’s a good thing Bianca experienced the hostile Ashe crowd in her match against Townsend, because it will be even worse during the match with Serena. But at least Bianca will be somewhat prepared.

  • catherine · September 6, 2019 at 12:53 am

    Not just the remark about Bianca’s mother but the swipe at Bianca for not looking as ‘feminine’ as Bencic. Bianca is 5’7″ but she isn’t built like a tank. Can’t change some minds.

    I have to say I’m not surprised Serena won but I’m surprised Svito seemed to crumble so easily in SS. Maybe she just flattered to deceive in previous matches. Svito has a limited game really, top 10 but no No 1.

    Still think it’s Serena’s title but hope for a good match. Bianca’s done incredibly well.

  • Jeff · September 6, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Wow they bodyshamed a teenager on TV like that? Who made that comment that she wasn’t feminine? That’s outrageous for this day and time, especially since she isn’t even 20 yet. Like at least an older woman could take it, who knows how a kid will react?

    I had the world feed commentators on but wasn’t paying attention. I hear everyone complaining so much about the ESPN people that I decided it just isn’t worth it to hear their inane comments with no tennis insight whatsoever.

  • catherine · September 6, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Jeff – Dan made the comments just a few posts earlier on this thread.

  • Jeff · September 6, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Ahh that’s different then from saying that on TV to a national audience. I think we can expect such comments from Dan! I thought Evert or McEnroe opened their big mouths again.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 6, 2019 at 3:28 am

    My points about Andreescu are: how has she gone from being a first round qualifier loser in one year to being a slam finalist? Was she always this big? Because surely she’s not as big as Serena who has set a new standard for a female athlete of any sport and I think it’s a good thing. Taylor Townsend also showed in this event that a female tennis player can definitely compete and compete well not having the prototypical slim or muscular body.

    But with Andreescu, is this her natural body type? Was she like this last year and the year before when she got knocked out of Qualis in the first round. Or has she gone on a big body-building kick? Is there steroids at play here possibly as has been an accusation thrown at Serena.

    As for Andreescu’s mom, she just looked out of it. It is a little weird to bring a dog to a tennis match. I think Serena’s mom does it too, who also in my opinion, these days looks a little out of it too. All I’m saying is I’ve been around tennis a long time, and I’ve never seen a mom of any nationality look like Andreescu’s mom. She looks like a Dolly Parton character in that hair salon role she played in that movie a number of years ago with Cher. In one way, I’m impressed because she and her husband don’t clap or pump their fists. The two of them almost seem disengaged from their daughter’s matches to some extent.

    When has it become politically incorrect to mention how a player or her/his parents look? Andersen’s mom with the hair and with the glasses and the dazed look to an extent just to me, doesn’t look like or seem even related to her fiery athletic daughter.

  • catherine · September 6, 2019 at 3:56 am

    It’s not politically incorrect – for me, I just think we have to be careful commenting on anyone’s appearance or supposed personality on a public forum. It’s not like a private conversation. It’s Bianca’s mother you’re talking about. Parents don’t always resemble their children.

    As far as bringing dogs to tennis matches, Martina N used to do it all the time. Maybe Bianca likes to see her dog there.

    That is Bianca’s body type – looks a little like puppy fat which she should lose as she gets older and her muscles become more defined.

    To even mention steroids is outrageous – Bianca gets tested regularly like every other player.

  • Hartt · September 6, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Dan, I can’t believe you are suggesting Bianca could be using steroids. That’s just not on. As Catherine said, this is a public forum, and no place for that kind of accusation. There is absolutely no foundation for this idea.

    I’ve watched Bianca for a few years now, and she has always had this body type, other than perhaps growing a bit taller. She was very successful as a junior player, although injuries hampered her progress. As I wrote earlier, she carried Canada’s Fed Cup team for several years.

    She had a back injury at last year’s USO, so it is not surprising she did not do well. Having Bruneau as a full-time coach made a big difference, and she did well at several smaller tourneys last fall. Although no one could have predicted her breakout season, Canadian tennis fans knew it was just a matter of time before she has serious success.

    Before making a wild suggestion such as steroid use, perhaps you should do some homework. Frankly, I am getting tired of some of the innuendo that comes up on this site.

  • catherine · September 6, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Hartt – the rule I go by, posting here or on any other forum: is the comment one which would be printed in a newspaper or magazine ? The laws of libel apply, as far as I know, to websites as well as other media.

    And mud sticks, even if it’s a throwaway comment that’s forgotten as soon as it’s typed. Many more people read this website than post on it so we’ve no idea where rumours and innuendo end up.

    I share your feelings entirely about all this.

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