Serena Williams knows she won’t the support of the Toronto crowd when she takes on local hero Bianca Andreescu in the final of the Rogers Cup.
Former world No 1 Williams came through three sets to beat qualifier Marie Bouzkova in the semi-final while Andreescu held off Sofia Kenin to reach the final.
The 19-year-old Andreescu will be looking to become the first Canadian in 50 years to lift the trophy and Williams knows who the crowd will be rooting for come Sunday.
“I’ve never faced her, but I’ve kind of become a fan with everyone rooting and cheering so hard,” Williams said. “It’s kind of been contagious, the ‘Bianca Effect.'”
She added: “The crowd will obviously be for her. I definitely would too, but it’s really not about that. It’s just about going out there and playing your great tennis. Luckily, I’ve had some tough crowds in my career, so hopefully I will be used to it.”
The 23-time Grand Slam winner overcame a poor start to beat Czech Bouzkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in nearly two hours, securing her 500th hard-court win in the process.
She made 18 unforced errors in the first set, but started to recover and by the end of the match that total was 38 compared to 36 winners.
It’s hard court win number 5??0??0?? for @serenawilliams!°°
— WTA (@WTA) August 11, 2019
“I just needed to be more consistent and not make so many errors and just mentally be ready to hit a thousand balls if I needed to,” Williams said.
“In the first set, I was going for a little too much, so I just had to just play a different game. That was really important for me was to just change it up and move it around and not be so predictable.
“It’s a good lesson for me in the future, as well, more than anything. I definitely feel more grooved in, but at the same time I feel like — you know, I feel good still. I feel really good. I’ve been doing a lot of training and all the right things, so we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
Andreescu, who won the Indian Wells Masters in March, came away with a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) victory to reach her third WTA Tour final of the year.
The 19-year-old hometown hero defeats Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6(4)! pic.twitter.com/KptpqLDN6B
— WTA (@WTA) August 10, 2019
“I’ve been through so much the last two months,” she said. “All I can say is that I’m just so happy to be back on court right now. My shoulder’s good. I’m in the finals of the Rogers Cup. Life’s freaking amazing.”
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