Serena Williams’ bid to break the women’s all-time Grand Slam singles titles record suffered a blow on Saturday as she lost in straight sets at the US Open final.
Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu claimed her first Grand Slam title in New York as she swept aside the 37-year-old American.
Williams was widely expected to brush aside 19-year-old Andreescu, playing in her first Grand Slam final, to bring up her record-equalling 24th major title.
But, for the fourth time of asking since she returned to the sport after giving birth, Williams fell at the final hurdle, Andreescu shocking a packed and partisan Arthur Ashe Stadium with a 6-3 7-5 win.
Williams had lost acrimoniously at the same stage here last year to Naomi Osaka, as well as in the last two Wimbledon finals, as she desperately attempts to match Margaret Court’s all-time record.
The American’s footwork, and her first serve, deserted her for most of the match until, at 5-1 down in the second set and facing championship point, she mounted an unlikely comeback.
But Andreescu, who was not even born when Williams won her first US Open title in 1999, stood up to her illustrious opponent and held her nerve for a famous win.
The youngster has enjoyed a rapid rise, climbing from 208 in the world this time last year, when she lost in qualifying, to a projected place in the top five.
Andreescu is now the first Canadian grand slam champion and the first woman to win here on their main draw debut.
With her close friend Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, watching with her mother, husband and coach, Williams began well enough with an ace, but successive double faults at deuce gave Andreescu a break in the opening game.
A fierce exchange of volleys at the net was won by Williams and seemed to wake her up as she got on the board for 2-1.
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But, by the time the score reached 4-2, Andreescu was the one cranking up the pressure and, as one winner flashed past, Williams turned to her box, swinging her racket in frustration.
Williams somehow survived five break points and in the next game forced one of her own.
Andreescu wriggled out of that with an ace and then promptly broke to close out the opening set before racing into a 2-0 lead in the second.
Williams got back on serve, though, needing four break points and a lucky net chord to finally lay a glove on her opponent.
Even that did not faze Andreescu, who pounced on more misfiring serves and broke straight back.
Leading 5-1 and with the finishing line in sight Adreescu understandably tightened, Williams saving a championship point before twice breaking back as the crowd volume increased to ear-splitting levels.
At 5-5 Andreescu managed a gutsy hold and then brought up two more championship points, seizing her chance with the second of them, a clubbing forehand winner for a remarkable victory.
Novak Djokovic believes a fight with a fan gave him the motivation to defeat Denis Kudla in their US Open match.
The Serb has been been hampered by a niggling shoulder injury which forced him to arrive late for his pre-match practice session and has reduced his chances of claiming his fourth title at Flushing Meadows.
After beginning his warm-up, the world No.1 appeared to become embroiled in a heated discussion with a match-goer.
Djokovic eventually breezed through the encounter, winning 6-3 6-4 6-2 to set-up a last 16 clash with Stan Wawrinka.
“Just had a little chat,’ said Djokovic in his post match press conference when asked about the incident.
“To have a drink,’ he added. “I liked the guy. I’m going to buy him a drink. “We’ll keep it between us. But he definitely helped me. He doesn’t even know, but he did help me.”
Pressed on what the fan said to him, Djokovic added: ‘Well, if you have the video, you’ll hear I guess. “As I said, I’m not going to talk about it. I think he did me a favor. Even maybe he didn’t want to do me a favor, he did me a favor, big favour.”
Andy Murray has confirmed he will not play singles at this year’s US Open.
There were suggestions the three-time Grand Slam winner would play at Flushing Meadows following his return to singles action in Cincinnati.
However, the Briton revealed after his straight sets defeat to Richard Gasquet that he will not take part at the final major of 2019 as he’s not ready play five-set matches.
Instead, Murray intends to play in both the doubles and mixed doubles, just as he did at Wimbledon last month.
He made his singles return after a seven-month absence as the former world number one shook off a little ring rust against the Frenchman.
The 32-year-old Briton’s first-round showdown against Gasquet at the Western and Southern Open resulted in a 6-4 6-4 reverse, but the outcome was only part of the story, with Murray attempting to revive his career after hip surgery.
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Now pain-free and having returned to competitive action in doubles earlier this year, the Scot started slowly as he struggled to find a first serve and had to contend with Gasquet’s determination to test his mobility at every opportunity.
In the event, Murray lost the match but showed flashes of his best form as he warmed to his task.
The twice Wimbledon and Olympic champion, who feared in January that his career could be over, surrendered his service in the opening game and came within a point of a 3-0 deficit before rallying to lead 3-2.
However, Gasquet tested him to the full, including with a series of drop shots, before taking the first set 6-4.
The second set started in much the same fashion – the Frenchman establishing a 2-0 lead – but Murray repeatedly threatened to break while holding his own service with increasing confidence, before eventually succumbing 6-4 once again.
Gary Woodland won the US Open and struggled to put into words the feeling of winning his first major title.
The 35-year-old American held off the challenge of defending champion Brooks Koepka to win at Pebble Beach.
Woodland carded a final round of 69 to finish 13 under par and three shots clear of Koepka, who was aiming to become the second player to win three straight US Opens.
Justin Rose was tied for the lead after a birdie on the opening hole, but faded on the back nine to share third with Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Chez Reavie, while the expected challenge from Rory McIlroy never materialised after a double bogey on the second.
Woodland had failed to convert any of his seven 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour into a win, but withstood the stubborn challenge of Rose and early charge from Koepka to land the title and first prize of $2.25million.
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Moments after holing the winning putt, Woodland embraced his mother and father behind the 18th green, while his wife Gabby was at home as she is expecting twin girls in August.
The couple lost one of the twins they were expecting two years ago and their surviving son, Jaxson, who celebrates his second birthday next week, was born prematurely weighing just three pounds.
“It’s hard not being with them and I’m excited to get home and see them and have a little birthday party,” Woodland said.
“But it’s nice to have my dad here. I would not be here without him. I probably did not realise how special it all was until I became a father.”
After Koepka made a flying start with four birdies in his first five holes, Woodland responded with birdies on the second and third and twice enjoyed a three-shot lead before carding just his third bogey of the week on the ninth.
Justin Rose looks on as Woodland celebrates his victory on the 18th green at Pebble Beach[/caption]
Koepka closed to within a shot of the lead for the first time with a birdie on the 11th, only to promptly bogey the next after finding sand off the tee.
Woodland was starting to feel the pressure and dropped his second shot in four holes on the 12th, but then struck what proved to be the vital blow with a stunning approach from 263 yards on the 14th which landed just over the greenside bunker and ran a few inches off the green.
From there, the world number 25 chipped to three feet and tapped in for his first birdie since the third hole and he effectively sealed victory with a sublime pitch from the corner of the 17th green which span to a halt just two feet from the hole.
Woodland, who has worked hard on his short game with renowned Yorkshire coach Pete Cowen, then put the icing on the cake by holing from 30 feet for birdie on the 18th.
“The drive on 14 was huge and then I hit a great second shot,” Woodland added.
“The idea was to play to win. I could have easily laid up but my caddie gave me a lot of confidence when he told me to hit 3-wood and that birdie kind of separated me a little bit.
“On 17 I had that shot earlier this week and it’s the second time I got it up and down. I would have taken four if I had to but it came off perfectly.”
Koepka, who has now finished first, second, first and second in his last four majors, was magnanimous in defeat, saying: “Gary played a helluva round today, props to him for the way he hung in there. It was pretty cool.
“When I was on 18 I realised I was that close to accomplishing something that has not been done in more than 100 years and that’s special, but I don’t think anybody in the world played as good as Gary did.”
Rose had relied heavily on his scrambling skills all week but was finally found out on the back nine as he dropped three shots in the space of four holes.
“I made three good saves at nine, 10 and 11 and I was right in the tournament but then just kept missing in the wrong spot,” Rose said.
“And the putter wasn’t quite as warm today as it was yesterday. It took a bit of a day off. But I felt like I had to have a day where I pieced everything together to win. It was close.
“But coming in, once momentum leaves you a little bit, it just becomes hard to grind it out.”
Justin Rose believes he will need to find an extra gear over the weekend to claim a second US Open title as Rory McIlroy plotted a ‘boring’ path to glory at Pebble Beach.
Rose carded a second round of 70 to post consecutive sub-par scores in the tournament for the first time in his career and set a clubhouse target which was only overtaken late in the day by American Gary Woodland.
Woodland’s flawless 65 matched the lowest score in a US Open at Pebble Beach, which was set by Tiger Woods on his way to a record 15-shot victory in 2000 and equalled by Rose on Thursday.
At nine under par, Woodland led by two shots from Rose, with former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen on six under and McIlroy a shot further back alongside American Aaron Wise after veering from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again in his 69.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka, who is seeking a hat-trick of US Open titles and a fifth major victory in his last nine starts, was ominously placed on four under in a group which also contained England’s Matt Wallace, who was third in the US PGA Championship behind Koepka last month.
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Graeme McDowell, who lifted the trophy at Pebble Beach in 2010, is three under par after a round of 70, with Masters champion Tiger Woods nine strokes off the pace following a disappointing 72.
“I’m happy although I felt like it was an opportunity to go a couple better,” said Rose, who started from the 10th and went out in 34 after birdies on 15 and 18.
“I felt like I left two or three out there coming in but parring eight and nine at least makes me feel like I’ve got something out of the day.
“I have no expectations for the weekend really. I just like my position, the course and the way I’m trending but I still don’t feel like I’m cooking and I’m going to need to find that (extra) gear if I’m going to hoist some silverware on the weekend.”
McIlroy was three under for his round after 12 holes before dropping a shot on the 13th and then running up a double bogey on the par-five 14th after spinning his approach off the green and dumping his next shot into a bunker.
The 30-year-old was understandably furious and could still be seen muttering to himself even after making amends with a birdie on the 15th, but his mood was improved considerably by another birdie on the next.
“It was a bit of an unforced error on 14, I took a club that was not going to get to the back third of the green even after seeing other players do the same,” McIlroy said.
“But I bounced back well and those birdies on 15 and 16 were huge to get me right back into this golf tournament this weekend.
“It’s boring and a cliche but you need to hit fairways and greens round here. I did not do that for a few holes on the back nine and paid the price and was lucky to bounce back.”
Koepka could also reflect on a number of missed opportunities but remained well placed to maintain his remarkable recent record in majors and join Scotland’s Willie Anderson (1903-05) as the only player to win three straight US Opens.
“I’m good at this patient game, I know you just need to be hanging around on the weekend,” Koepka said. “I have a chance, just have to clean it up for the weekend. If I can putt the way I did on Thursday and hit it like I did today, it’s a good combination.”
Woods, who single-putted 11 greens in an opening round of 70, was on course for his first bogey-free round in any US Open since his final round here in 2000 after one birdie and 15 pars, but bogeyed his last two holes.
The cut fell at two over par and Wales’s Rhys Enoch made it right on the mark thanks to a superb second round of 66.
Have a look at the full leaderboard below
-9 G Woodland (US); -7 J Rose (Eng); -6 L Oosthuizen (SA); -5 A Wise (US), R McIlroy (NI)
Selected others: -4 B Koepka (US), M Wallace (Eng); -3 H Stenson (Swe), A Scott (Aus), G McDowell (NI), S Garcia (Spa); -2 F Molinari (Ita) D Johnson (US), M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -1 J Spieth (US), P Mickelson (US); Level T Woods (US); +2 T Fleetwood (Eng) T Hatton (Eng)
Justin Rose surged into the lead after the first round of the 119th US Open, though a vintage display of putting prowess kept Tiger Woods in the hunt for a 16th major title.
Rose, who won the title at Merion in 2013, birdied his last three holes to card an opening six-under-par 65, equalling the lowest round ever in a US Open at Pebble Beach set by Woods on his way to a record 15-shot victory in 2000.
Woods was nowhere near that kind of form but the Masters champion scrambled superbly and single-putted 11 greens to card a 70, the same score he posted in the first round at Augusta National in April.
Rose enjoyed a one-shot lead over former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and the American trio of Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and Aaron Wise, with Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari part of an eight-strong group on three under.
“The only reason I knew my putt on the last was to match Tiger’s score is that Rickie had that putt earlier and I was watching some of the (television) coverage,” Rose said. “I thought this would be kind of cool doing this in front of the great man himself.
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“I don’t know if I did a good job of anything other than scrambling today so it’s good to know you can shoot a score like that and have something left in the tank.”
Woods carded three birdies and a double bogey in a four-hole stretch on the front nine before finishing with 11 straight pars, the most notable courtesy of a 30-foot par putt on the 14th after thinning a bunker shot across the green.
“I putted well but I was trying to just hang in their today,” Woods said. “It was just one of those days and Rosey proved the golf course could be had. He struggled for a little bit, fought it off and what an incredible finish.”
McIlroy had earlier produced the fast start he had craved after being reminded that all four of his previous major titles came after a first round in the 60s, the Northern Irishman recovering from a bogey on his opening hole to return a 68.
McIlroy won the 2011 US Open with a record total of 16 under par but was a total of 53 over for his seven subsequent starts and 36 over in the first round alone, the world number three admitting after a third straight missed cut in 2018 that his record was ‘pathetic’.
“I think I did what I wanted to do, which was hit it in the fairways for the most part, hit a lot of greens and when I didn’t I was able to get it up and down,” McIlroy said.
“I did everything you need to do in a US Open, I stayed patient after I bogeyed the first and played really solid after that so I did what you are supposed to do, make a lot of pars, chip off the birdies when you can and it was a good day’s work.
“It’s important for everybody (to make a fast start) but especially trying to get my way back to winning these big events it is important. The first two majors this year I shot 73 at Augusta and over par at Bethpage as well and it’s so hard to chase, especially when courses are so tough
“To get off to such a good start you are right in the tournament from the start which is a nice position to be in.”
Fowler is arguably the current holder of the unwanted title of “best player yet to win a major” after racking up eight top-five finishes, four of them coming in one season in 2014.
“I said earlier in the week that whether I win a major or I don’t in my career, it’s not something that’s going to define me,” the 30-year-old said after a round containing six birdies and a solitary bogey.
“There’s a lot of other things that I’d love to be remembered by, work off the golf course and making a difference and changing people’s lives. It would be nice to have a major on the resume. We’ll see what we can do.”
A tennis umpire has been suspended for his next two scheduled tournaments after being caught encouraging Nick Kyrgios during the US Open.
Mohamed Lahyani was heard saying to the Australian “I want to help you” during a changeover when Kyrgios was a set and a break down against Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Kyrgios then went on to win the second round match in four sets.
Lahyani will therefore miss October’s China Open and the Shanghai Masters after the ATP conducted an internal review.
The men’s governing body said in a statement: “Lahyani’s actions in the match were deemed to have compromised the impartiality that is required of an official.
The Swede will be able to return to work at the Stockholm Open on October 15.
US Open organisers said Lahyani had gone “beyond protocol” but did not take any action at the time.
However, as he is one of the seven full-time umpires on the Tour, the incident was still subject to ATP disciplinary action.
ATP executive vice president of rules and competition Gayle David Bradshaw said Lahyani is a “world-class and highly-respected official”, but added “his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire.”
Bradshaw continued: “Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own Tour.
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“We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October.”
After the match, world number 27 Kyrgios said it was “ridiculous” to suggest Lahyani’s words had sparked his resurgence.
However, Frenchman Herbert said it was “the point something changed” and that the umpire’s actions were unnecessary.
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