Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian to win the women’s singles title at the Rogers Cup since 1969, although the headlines have since been dominated by her opponent Serena Williams, who was forced to retire from the final at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, amidst fears for her fitness ahead of the upcoming US Open at the end of August.
Clearly struggling and 3-1 down in the first set of the final, Williams was tearful as she spoke to her trainer and then to the match referee, announcing that she was unable to continue due to injury. To her credit, the first reaction from Andreescu was to hug and console Williams, offering heartfelt sympathy and understanding, having experienced injury difficulties during her own professional career.
In the post-match press conference, Serena Williams later revealed that she had suffered back spasms during her Rogers Cup semi-final victory against Marie Bouzkova, which took place the day before the final. “It just got worse, my whole back just completely spasmed and to a point where I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t really move,” she explained.
Serena Williams is no stranger to playing through the pain barrier, although she admitted that while playing in the Rogers cup final against Bianca Andreescu, “I just couldn’t do anything with my upper body,” despite hours of treatment ahead of the match. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to continue,” she conceded, before praising her Canadian opponent for her actions and attitude during the game.
Despite the injury concerns and her retirement from the Rogers Cup final, the latest US Open tennis odds suggest there’s not only confidence that Serena Williams can successfully bounce back from this setback, but also recover well enough to win the title at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. By doing so, Serena would equal the record of tennis legend Margaret Court, who won 24 Grand Slam singles titles during her illustrious career.
Nevertheless, the clock is ticking given the first round of the tournament begins on Monday 26th August, following five qualifying days between Monday 19th and Friday 23rd. Serena Williams has endured back injury problems before, yet still managed to compete at the very highest level and even win tournaments, which is testament to her remarkable endurance.
On the back of defeating Serena Williams over straight sets (6-2, 6-2) to win the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles title in July, Simona Halep will also be amongst the favourites for the US Open Women’s title at Flushing Meadows in New York. The 27-year-old Romanian was a semi-finalist back in 2015 when both she and Williams were surprisingly eliminated at that stage by Italian pair, Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta, with the latter winning the tournament as 26th seed.
Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka will also be keen to retain her crown, having defeated Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in last year’s final. The 21-year-old Japanese tennis star was recently beaten 6-3, 6-4 by her 37-year-old idol in the quarter-final of the Rogers Cup. Gracious in defeat, she acknowledged this defeat against her “tennis mom” was still a great learning experienced, having based her game on a similar style to that of Williams.
Naomi Osaka has also regained the WTA World No.1 spot for the second time in her career, doing so by virtue of progressing further at the Rogers Cup than Ashleigh Barty, who slips to second in the latest rankings. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Australian remains amongst the favourite contenders to win the US Open, which looks set to bring us plenty of fascinating and thrilling encounters, as the leading women’s tennis players compete for glory at the final Grand Slam event of the tennis season.