When Bianca Andreescu finally knocked off Taylor Townsend to become the final woman’s quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open, it was nearly 1 AM ET on Tuesday.
Andreescu, a 19-year-old Canadian, now has 28 hardcourt wins this season — tied for most on the tour. A confident player with the ability to display varying styles of tennis, she has as good a chance to win the title on Saturday as any of the eight women left in the final Grand Slam tournament of the decade.
“It feels awesome,” the No. 15 seed said after beating Townsend in three sets to advance to a quarterfinal showdown with No. 26 Elise Mertens. “I’ve been working and dreaming of this moment for a really long time, so it feels pretty damn good to be in the quarters here.”
“I am really happy, but the tournament’s not done yet. I think I can do even better than get to the quarters here this year.”
Andreescu, who won Indian Wells and Toronto, is into her first Grand Slam quarterfinal and is one of seven women left in the draw who has never been to a major final.
Serena Williams, the No. 8 seed and 23-time major champion, is the only quarterfinalist who has ever been to a major final — or won a Grand Slam title. Williams was set to face China’s Qiang Wang, the No. 18 seed, on Tuesday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The other quarterfinal on the bottom half of the draw features No. 5 Evina Svitolina of Ukraine — the highest remaining seed in the tournament — against No. 16 Johanna Konta of Britain.
On the top half, No. 13 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who knocked off world No. 1 Naomi Osaka on Monday for the third time this year, faces No. 23 Donna Vekic of Croatia. The winner of that match will face the Andreescu/Mertens winner for a spot in the final.
Bencic, 22, is into her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2014 after battling a variety of injuries, including having wrist surgery in 2017. She has been mentored by Roger Federer and coached by Melanie Molitor, Martina Hingis’ mother and coach.
Bencic is too young to have seen Hingis play in her prime two decades ago, but they play similar styles. Some tennis experts are picking Bencic to break through and win her first Grand Slam title in New York.
“She was even more skilled and smarter on the court and playing more chess,” Bencic said of the comparison between her game and Hingis’. “I think I have a little bit less maybe talent and touch than her, but maybe a little bit more power.”
At least one first-time Grand Slam finalist is guaranteed to come out of the top half. And if Williams fails to make the final, where she lost to Osaka a year ago in a highly charged and controversial final, there will be two maiden finalists playing for the title.
That is consistent with the recent trend in women’s tennis.
While the “Big Three” of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal has won the last 11 major titles on the men’s side, nine different women have won the last 11 majors.
With Osaka’s loss here, it is guaranteed that for the third straight year, four different women will split up the major titles. Osaka won the Australian Open, Ash Barty took the French Open and Simona Halep captured Wimbledon.
Serena’s last major title came at the Australian Open in 2017. She was the favorite heading into the quarterfinals, but everyone else, including Andreescu, believes they can win the title, too.
“Every tournament I go into, I want to win it,” she said.