“She’s got the champion’s attitude,” Navratilova said of Andreescu after watching her scrap and rally in both sets to defeat Belinda Bencic 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the semifinals on Thursday.
Does she have the nerve to face Williams in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the biggest Grand Slam showcase in the sport?
“She’s already shown it, and the pressure is off,” Navratilova said. “She’s playing Serena Williams, so Serena’s got a bigger game, obviously. But Bianca’s got heart, and she’s a competitor. I think she’ll match the intensity of Serena. I just don’t know if she can match her game.”
For now, Andreescu is one of several remarkable youngsters experiencing great success.
Marketa Vondrousova, a crafty 19-year-old lefthander from the Czech Republic, reached the final of this year’s French Open. Also at that tournament: Amanda Anisimova, a 17-year-old American, narrowly lost in the semifinals to the eventual champion, Ashleigh Barty.
Osaka, still No. 1 in the rankings and winner of last year’s U.S. Open and this year’s Australian Open, is only 21.
“It’s just always changing,” said Bencic, just 22 herself.
The future of women’s tennis looks bright and delightfully uncertain. Still, Andreescu is, at this early stage, in a category apart, both for the size of her tennis toolbox and the speed of her ascent. This is only her fourth Grand Slam tournament.
A year ago, she lost in the first round of U.S. Open qualifying on an outside court to Olga Danilovic, a promising teenager from Serbia who actually drew a bigger crowd than Andreescu.