On September 11 1999, a rising star of tennis clinched her first grand slam title and, 20 years later, Serena Williams is still going strong.

Williams, aged 17, beat Martina Hingis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in the US Open final at Flushing Meadows to make a major breakthrough.

Two decades and 23 grand slam titles have passed since then, yet Williams - one triumph shy of equalling Margaret Court's overall major record hall - is still at the pinnacle of the sport.

The American reached her second slam final of 2019 at Flushing Meadows last week, though it ended in defeat to new kid on the block Bianca Andreescu, who also beat Williams in the Rogers Cup final in August – albeit with her opponent retiring at 3-1 down.

It means Williams has lost her last four appearances in grand slam finals since winning the Australian Open in January 2017, but her ever enduring talent means a record-equalling success should never be discounted.

Here are some of the astonishing numbers of Williams' career to date.

72 - Williams has won 72 WTA singles titles so far. Her first was in Paris in 1999, with her most recent coming in Melbourne in 2017.

33 - The 37-year-old has reached an incredible 33 grand slam singles finals, losing just 10 of those.

5 - Williams has finished the year ranked as world number one five times, in 2002, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

39 - Including 14 in doubles and two in mixed doubles, Williams has won 39 major titles - that is a joint-third total since the Open Era began.

1 - Williams is the only player, male or female, to have completed a Golden Slam in both singles and doubles competitions. As well as triumphing at every slam and the Olympics as a singles competitor, Serena has achieved the same feat alongside sister Venus in doubles.

7 - Williams has seven titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, with six more at the US Open, and three at Roland Garros.

319 - Having spent 319 weeks as world number one, Williams is third behind Martina Navratilova (332) and Steffi Graf (377).

2 - She has held all four grand slam trophies on two occasions - in 2002-03 and 2014-15.

97 - In total, Williams has appeared in 97 singles finals on the WTA circuit.

186 - Williams spent 186 weeks as world number one between February 2013 and September 2016, equal with Graf's record from August 1987 to March 1991.

Martina Navratilova believes Serena Williams will have to find her brilliant best to win another grand slam after yet more disappointment in a major final at the US Open.

The painful 6-3 7-5 defeat to Canadian Bianca Andreescu in Saturday's title match at Flushing Meadows means Williams, unquestionably the player of her generation, remains one slam title behind Margaret Court at the top of the all-time list.

Williams has lost major four finals in the last 14 months and her last grand slam singles triumph came at the 2017 Australian Open.

It will be to Melbourne she returns for the next drive to land that 24th slam, and the American, though still a major force, will have turned 38 by the time she arrives in Australia in January.

Navratilova was 37 when she played her last grand slam singles final, losing to Conchita Martinez at Wimbledon in 1994, and she retired later that year, returning for a brief singles dalliance in 2000 and a more sustained involvement in doubles well into her forties.

She said the pressure that Williams faced in New York was of the kind that "only happens to legends and is impossible to quantify".

"I still think Serena can get to 24 majors," Navratilova told the WTA website.

"Especially as the court surface at the Australian Open suits her better as it's faster than the US Open.

"But, after losing four in a row, every major final is now going to be harder for Serena. For one thing, there are going to be more players who think they can beat her.

"And also the scar tissue and the pressure will only grow. Just 'Average Serena' is not going to cut it in Melbourne in January; she will have to bring her best."

Navratilova was hugely impressed by 19-year-old Andreescu who had the courage to hit Williams off court, only showing the slightest sign of nerves when her opponent launched a second-set fightback from the brink of defeat.

The bravado of the first-time champion struck a chord with Navratilova, who said: "It was as if Andreescu knew that there was nothing she could do about the crowd being so vocal in their support for Serena.

"She didn’t take it personally, though it must have been hard, really hard."

And with Andreescu among a host of young players who look set to give the women's game a bright future, Navratilova sees the landscape changing - albeit with one fact still incontrovertible.

"If Serena plays her best tennis, she's still better than everybody else out there," said the nine-time Wimbledon singles champion. "Unfortunately for Serena, she didn't do that in New York."

Serena Williams lost the US Open final to Bianca Andreescu on Saturday, her fourth final in the last two years without a win. A win would make Williams the most winningest woman in the Open era of Grand Slams, surpassing Margaret Court's 23 titles. But her latest loss brings into question whether or not she still has what it takes to win a major. The Zone Blitz team answers the question.

Flushing Meadows is all but empty, the fans that bayed for Bianca Andreescu's demise in the second set have long departed and, in the players' lounge in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the US Open champion is at ease and very much excited.

Andreescu is excited not because she's still revelling in winning her first grand slam title, though that is unquestionably also the case. Instead the 19-year-old is abuzz because she is sat around a table with a group of reporters and has just been asked if she has recommendations for self-help books.

"Where's my phone?!" she enthusiastically shouts. "I have all the books I've read on my phone."

After that extremely modern statement, Andreescu is handed her phone and frantically scrolls through her reading list in search of a book she cannot remember the name of.

"Code of the Extraordinary Mind!" Andreescu exclaims after locating the title of the 2016 work by Vishen Lakhiani.

Lakhiani and various other self-help authors may expect a significant bump in their sales following Andreescu's victory in New York.

There can be fewer greater endorsements than surviving a second-set comeback from Serena Williams in a major final in front of a crowd providing ear-splitting support for the 23-time grand slam champion, who powered back from 5-1 down in the second to level things up at 5-5.

"I couldn't hear myself think at that point," said Andreescu. "I was just in awe of how loud the US Open crowd can get, it was crazy but I was glad I witnessed that because that's what makes this tournament so special.

"At that point you can only try to focus on the things you can control, and that was my attitude towards it and I just kept my composure, which is why I think I dealt with that scenario really well."

The teenager dealt with it impeccably, holding serve to check Williams' momentum before finding huge success with the forehand in the most important game of the match to break the American and become Canada's first grand slam singles champion.

Following such an incredible show of character, motivational speakers and self-help authors all over the globe may be using Andreescu's example to inspire others, with her journey from oft-injured player who failed to qualify for the 2018 US Open to grand slam champion a testament to the power of belief and perseverance.

"In my short career I've been through a lot injury-wise, those moments weren't easy for me because I just kept getting injured," Andreescu explained. "At one point I didn't have much faith in myself but I have an amazing team around me, including my parents. I think my parents are my biggest inspiration and biggest motivation because they've believed in me since day one.

"Without them I wouldn't have gotten through those periods like I did, so I'm truly thankful for that, and also it's part of life going through tough situations like that. It's not always going to be butterflies and rainbows, I just tried to embrace it as much I could.

"I tried to learn different things about myself and just about how I can get better as a player and as a person. I really believed there were gonna be good times ahead because I think when you believe in that, all those tough times are worth it."

Now she has a spectacular reward for getting through those tough times, and Andreescu knows she has nothing to fear having avoided the devastation of defeat after spurning two chances to serve it out against Williams.

Asked if she had come through the most difficult test she will ever face on a tennis court, Andreescu replied: "I think so. Being in the final against Serena Williams and then actually winning it is crazy.

"I've looked up to her and now actually winning the tournament, I've always thought I could but it actually happening is just so crazy.

"I don't think I've lost a match since March so my confidence is just skyrocketing right now, I just don't want to take anything for granted because there's gonna be weeks where you're going to lose, so right now I'm on cloud nine and hopefully I can just keep the momentum going.

"When I play my game nobody really likes that because I play a lot different than other players on tour, I like to change up the rhythm and I've always been like that, so I just kept improving it, that's what I've been doing this whole year and I think that's why I've been doing really well.

"I've always had a lot of tools in my toolbox, but the goal for me now is to choose the right shots to hit at the right times."

That is a scary sentence for the rest of the WTA Tour to read. Self-help books, her parents and her own focus and belief helped Andreescu hone the tool that was most important on Saturday, her fortitude. Once she fine-tunes the rest of her significant arsenal, Andreescu's rivals will need all the help they can get to stop her becoming the dominant force in the women's game.

Patrick Mouratoglou insists Serena Williams will not give up hope of matching Margaret's Court grand slam record after her US Open defeat to Bianca Andreescu.

Williams lost 6-3 7-5 to 19-year-old Andreescu at Flushing Meadows - her fourth successive defeat in grand slam finals.

The 37-year-old last won a slam final in January 2017 and remains one shy of Australian Court's haul of 24 major triumphs.

Coach Mouratoglou has come to Williams' defence and is adamant there should be no doubting her desire.

"Sport can be ruthless," Mouratoglou wrote in a message posted on his official Twitter account.

"You always have the choice to look at the glass half full or half empty. Serena has lost the last four grand slam finals but she has also reached four grand slam finals not even two years after becoming a mother, being almost 38 years old.

"This is an incredible achievement even though the goal is to win tournaments. I am so proud of her and what she is able to achieve.

"Now there is always the option to give up, advised by those who let their frustration rule their opinions.

"The other option is to continue the fight for winning other majors. It is a deep plan to work so hard, give it your all and fail.

"One quality of a champion is to never give up, whatever they go through, until they reach their goal. Serena is the ultimate champion. Sport can be ruthless, but that is also why we love it."

For a spell in the second set, Williams took the initiative against Andreescu, who let a 5-1 lead and championship point slip away.

However, the youngster regained her composure to claim a maiden title at the highest level in her first grand slam final.

Winning grand slams, and not the pursuit of Margaret Court's record, is the focus for Serena Williams after she again missed out on a major title at the US Open.

The 23-time grand slam champion suffered her fourth defeat in four major finals since returning to the tour after giving birth to her daughter as she was beaten 6-3 7-5 by teenager Bianca Andreescu at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.

It means she remains behind Court's record tally of 24, with many sure to question how many more opportunities the American will have to potentially surpass that mark and definitively secure her status as the greatest of all time.

However, speaking in a post-match media conference, Williams indicated the thought of overtaking Court has not been on her mind.

The 37-year-old said: "I'm not necessarily chasing a record. I'm just trying to win grand slams.

"It's definitely frustrating, you know. But for the most part I just am still here. I'm still doing what I can do."

Asked if the losses have become easier to accept, Williams replied: "Absolutely not. I definitely can say that I'm not really happy, but I have to, like, take it one moment at a time.

"I honestly didn't play my best. I could have played better. That's the only solace that I can take right now."

The other side of the net from Serena Williams at the US Open is a lonely place.

It's extremely lonely when you are in the final and have just spurned two chances to serve out to win a grand slam, with a packed crowd bursting for you to collapse in the biggest match of your career.

That was the challenge 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu faced at Flushing Meadows on Saturday, and at that point it looked very much as if the vast majority of the fans inside Arthur Ashe Stadium were going to get their wish.

For Williams has broken the hearts of so many opponents throughout her glorious career that has encompassed 23 grand slam titles. Her resilience and remarkable ability to come back from the death have been the defining features of the greatest Open Era career in professional tennis.

As Andreescu stuck her fingers in her ears in a vain attempt to drown out deafening noise that greeted Williams going 40-0 up on the Canadian's serve to cut a 5-1 deficit to 5-4, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone inside the planet's largest tennis stadium that did not believe a history-making comeback was about to be made.

It didn't matter that Williams had been completely outplayed for a set and a half. It didn't matter that she had served pitifully for the vast majority of the match. All that mattered was who had the momentum, and it was firmly in the possession of the player who has long since made the most devastating use of it.

With this contest featuring the largest age gap between grand slam finalists in the Open Era, the odds were firmly on Williams using her experience and riding the tidal wave building against an opponent who appeared increasingly powerless to stop it.

Williams' long history of completing spectacular turnarounds may have seemed key at that moment. However, it was Andreescu's recent history of thriving in pressure situations and closing out matches that ultimately proved instructive in her incredible 6-3 7-5 triumph.

Andreescu came into the final having not lost a completed match since March and won all of her seven previous encounters with top-10 opponents. Her prior three matches at the US Open had seen her survive a second-set blip against Taylor Townsend, come from a set down to defeat Elise Mertens and recover from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to claim victory over Belinda Bencic in the semi-final.

Even at her tender age, Andreescu is battle hardened and she proved it once again, rediscovering her composure and her confidence on serve to hold, and finding her fierce forehand in the subsequent game as the teenager chose not to settle for the tie-break, but to go on the attack.

Had she done otherwise and lost the tie-break, the odds would have been firmly in favour of Williams going on to win the decider and a historic title in handsome fashion.

Instead it was Williams who cracked in the most crucial juncture of a match, as a forehand winner saw Andreescu complete one of the most unpredictable championship runs of recent memory in her main draw debut.

It leaves Williams facing a hard truth. The other side of the net from her is a lonely place, but it's one an increasing number of her rivals are becoming more comfortable in.

Williams understandably does not put much stock in her 2018 Wimbledon final defeat to Angelique Kerber, given it came less than a year after she gave birth to her daughter. 

There is a lot of weight, though, in the three major final losses that have followed. Naomi Osaka rose to the occasion on the same stage as Andreescu 12 months ago, and Williams was dismantled by Simona Halep at the All England Club in July.

Against Andreescu she was a comfortable second best for all but four games and, when it came time for her to deliver the blows that would change the course of the contest for good, she found her opponent more ready to seize the opportunity and the title.

Williams conceded in her post-match media conference that she did not believe Serena showed up.

She will be 38 by the time she has another chance to "show up" at the Australian Open and, with Osaka, Andreescu and an ever expanding cast of determined young women showing no fear in facing her, it is fair to question whether it will even make a difference if she does.

As the enormity of what she had achieved washed over her, Bianca Andreescu finally gave in to her emotions.

The 19-year-old Canadian has been the definition of composure, laser focused on one goal – winning her first grand slam title at the US Open in her main draw debut.

However, having achieved that dream by stunning Serena Williams and denying the American great a record-tying 24th grand slam with a 6-3 7-5 victory at Flushing Meadows, she allowed that composure to slip.

Andreescu sank to the court in what looked to be a combination of relief, disbelief and exhaustion after completing her triumph and in her post-match media conference she broke down while reflecting on what the success meant to her.

Asked how she visualised the match going, a tearful Andreescu replied: "This wasn't the only time I visualised playing in the finals actually against Serena Williams. It's so crazy, man.

"I've been dreaming of this moment for the longest time. Like I said after I won the Orange Bowl [at age 15], a couple months after, I really believed that I could be at this stage.

"Since then, honestly I've been visualising it almost every single day.

"For it to become a reality is just so crazy. I guess these visualisations really, really work."

Andreescu conceded she did start to doubt herself as Williams, backed by a deafening crowd desperate for her to tie the record, roared back from 5-1 down to level the second set at 5-5, a fightback she was in no way surprised by.

"I had some doubts because I've witnessed her come back from being 5-0 down, 5-1 down, 5-2 down. I just told myself to stick with my tactics," added Andreescu.

"She started playing much better. I think the crowd really helped her, as well.

"I was blocking out the noise, or trying to. I could barely hear myself think really. It was really, really loud. But I guess that's what makes this tournament so special.

"It definitely wasn't easy, especially when she started coming back in the second set. I mean, it was expected. She's a champion. That's what champions do. She's done that many, many times throughout her career.

"But I just tried to stay as composed as I could. It's hard to just block everything out, but I think I did a pretty good job at that."

Flushing Meadows appeared set to bear witness to a trademark Serena Williams comeback in the US Open final, but the 23-time grand slam champion indicated she will not lift a major trophy again until she shows her true self after falling short against Bianca Andreescu.

Williams again missed out on an opportunity to tie Margaret Court's all-time record as she was beaten 6-3 7-5 by Andreescu at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.

Andreescu dominated the match for a set and a half, reading the Williams serve excellently, producing deep returns and making the 37-year-old contest long rallies she was frequently on the wrong end of.

However, the tide appeared to be turning in a significant way as Andreescu let a championship point slip at 5-1 and allowed Williams to completely erase the deficit.

With a raucous crowd vociferously on her side, most would have expected her to go on and take the set along with a prospective decider to finally end her wait for number 24.

However, Andreescu stemmed the tide with a hold and then pounced on another poor Williams service game of which there were too many, an unreturnable forehand winner clinching the Canadian's first grand slam title on her maiden main draw appearance at the US Open.

For Williams it is now four major final defeats since returning from giving birth to her daughter, though she was less than a year removed from pregnancy when she lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2018.

The American was severely critical of her own display and believes she has not produced her best in any of those defeats.

Asked what she has been thinking since the final point, Williams told a media conference: "Well, I was thinking, okay, Serena, you didn't miss a serve, you lost serve maybe twice in the whole tournament, and you didn't hit a first serve in today, so... That was obviously on my mind, like how do I play at a level like this in a final?

"Again, I think Bianca obviously played well. I think her returns make me play better and puts pressure on my serve. At the same time it's inexcusable for me to play at that level."

"I feel like in 20 years, I definitely will be like, wow, that wasn't so bad," Williams said of her past four slam final defeats.

"It's very hard right now in the moment to take this and say, it didn't work out for you today, but it's really hard right now to take that moment in and to say you did okay, because I don't believe I did.

"I believe I could have played better. I believe I could have done more. I believe I could have just been more Serena today.

"I honestly don't think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in grand slam finals."

Bianca Andreescu apologised to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after beating Serena Williams in the US Open final to clinch her first grand slam title.

Andreescu, 19, extended Williams' wait for a record-equalling 24th major crown with an impressive 6-3 7-5 victory in New York on Saturday.

But just like Naomi Osaka a year ago, when the Japanese star beat Williams in a controversial final, Andreescu was apologetic to what was a raucous crowd supporting the American great at Flushing Meadows.

Asked about the toughest aspect of her win in an on-court interview, Andreescu said: "Definitely the crowd.

"I know you guys wanted Serena to win, so I'm so sorry. Obviously it was expected for Serena to fight back. She's done that so many times in the past. That's why she's a true champion on and off the court.

"I just tried my best to block everything out. The last game wasn't easy – she started serving way, way better too. Balls were going all over the place. I'm just glad with how I managed really."

Andreescu managed to close out her first major title despite Williams reeling off four consecutive games from 5-1 down in the second set.

The Canadian paid tribute to Williams and was delighted with her own ability to deal with the enormity of the situation.

"It's so hard to explain in words. I'm just beyond grateful and truly blessed. I've worked really, really hard for this moment. I can't complain," Andreescu said.

"This year has been a dream come true. Now, being able to play on this stage, against Serena, a true legend of the sport, is amazing.

"Oh, man. It wasn't easy at all. I tried to prepare my best, like I do for every other match. I tried to step on the court and tried not to focus on who I'm playing. That's really easy to say but I'm really proud of how I dealt with everything."

Serena Williams' quest for a 24th grand slam title continues after she succumbed to an inspired performance by teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu in the US Open final.

The 19-year-old Canadian capped an extraordinary rise in 2019 by clinching the final slam of the season at Flushing Meadows with a 6-3 7-5 victory, maintaining her incredible run of having never lost to a top-10 player.

While it was Andreescu this time around, it was Naomi Osaka who beat Williams at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2018, with the 37-year-old having been stuck on 23 victories – one shy of Margaret Court's record – since January 2017.

For a spell in a dramatic second set, it looked as though Williams had the upper hand, but Andreescu held firm to condemn her opponent to a fourth successive grand slam final defeat.

KERBER PROVES TOO MUCH AT WIMBLEDON

Williams was around eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open against her sister Venus in January 2017 and, after pulling out of the Indian Wells and Miami Opens, the then world number one confirmed she was expecting her first child.

She returned to tennis in 2018, making her grand slam comeback at Roland Garros. However, it was at Wimbledon that Williams got back into her grand slam stride, until she met Angelique Kerber, who was in no mood to give up on a chance to clinch a maiden Wimbledon crown and won 6-3 6-3. 

"To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried," said an emotional Williams, just 10 months after giving birth.  

CONTROVERSY OVERSHADOWS OSAKA'S TRIUMPH

Osaka's sensational triumph should have been the main story from the 2018 US Open final, but unfortunately Williams stole the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Williams' tournament ended in controversy, as she received a game penalty in the second set after she had reacted badly to a code violation issued by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

She demanded an apology from Ramos, who Williams accused of being a "liar" and a "thief" after she received a further two violations for smashing her racket and abusing the umpire.

HALEP SHOWS NO MERCY

After a quarter-final defeat in Melbourne and a round-of-32 exit in Paris, Williams returned to grand slam contention as she charged to the final at Wimbledon earlier this year.   But former world number one Simona Halep put in one of the best – if not the best – performances of her career to brush her opponent aside 6-2 6-2, taking just 56 minutes to do so.   "I don't think it's a surprise for anyone to play great against me," Williams said. "When someone plays lights out, there's really not much you can do. You just have to understand that that was their day today."

NO FAIRYTALE IN NEW YORK

A chance at Flushing Meadows redemption came in Saturday's final. Osaka had been reduced to tears at the end of the 2018 final, in part it seemed due to the partisan crowd in Williams' favour that day, with the youngster apologising for beating the fan favourite.

However, despite equally vociferous support at Arthur Ashe, Williams could not muster enough to beat the exceptional Andreescu.

A stunning recovery seemed on when Williams fought back from 5-1 down to draw level in the second set, but Andreescu – who was not born when Williams won the 1999 title – regained her composure to seal a memorable victory on her major final debut.

Serena Williams thanked her team for their support through her "downs and downs and downs" after she lost again in the US Open final.

The 37-year-old was chasing a joint-record 24th grand slam title against Bianca Andreescu at Flushing Meadows but, as against Naomi Osaka last year and in consecutive Wimbledon finals, she came up short.

Williams turned in a nervy showing at Arthur Ashe Stadium, only briefly threatening to rally past her 19-year-old opponent late in the second set of a 6-3 7-5 reverse.

The match came 20 years on from Williams' first US Open victory and, asked about her incredible longevity after another painful defeat, she was hopeful there is still time in her career to return to winning ways in slam finals.

"I just feel really honoured to be out here. I'm just so proud I'm still out here competing at this level," she said at the post-match presentation. "It's not easy to be in this particular sport for 20 years.

"I have to give all thanks to Jehovah God for allowing me to have this moment to even be here.

"My team has been so supportive through all the ups and downs and downs and downs and downs and downs and downs...Hopefully we'll have some ups soon."

Williams has previously described herself as a fan of Andreescu and acknowledged that, with the exception of sister Venus, there is nobody she would rather lose to.

"Bianca played an unbelievable match. Congratulations," she said. "So proud and happy for you.

"It was incredible tennis out there. I wish I could have played better, but if anyone could win this tournament - outside of Venus - I'm happy it's Bianca."

Williams' only flicker of an opening in the match - a 23-minute stretch between Andreescu's first and second championship points - saw the crowd get involved, backing the American star.

She added: "I was just fighting at that point, trying to stay out there a little bit longer.

"Honestly, the fans started cheering so hard, it just made me play a little better and find a little bit more. I was really grateful for that."

Serena Williams was denied a 24th grand slam title in the US Open final for a second consecutive year as 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu capped an extraordinary 2019 with a breakthrough major success in a classic Flushing Meadows final.

The great Williams has been stuck on 23 victories, one behind Margaret Court, since January 2017 and lost in remarkable circumstances to Naomi Osaka in last year's New York final, as well as falling at the final hurdle at Wimbledon in each of the past two seasons.

It had appeared as though the 37-year-old would finally end her wait for the landmark triumph with an outstanding run back at Flushing Meadows until she met giant-slayer Andreescu on Saturday.

The teenager, who was beaten in qualifying last year, has never lost to a top-10 player and continued that incredible record by triumphing 6-3 7-5, becoming the first Canadian to win a singles grand slam.

Williams wore a pained expression throughout a performance that became more and more ragged, gifting away three breaks to double-faults as her experience failed to stand up to a mature Andreescu display.

For 23 minutes at the end of the second set, it appeared there might be a miraculous fightback, though, as the pressure finally got to the previously indomitable Andreescu, who had led 5-1 in the second.

But her calm and composure was rediscovered in the nick of time and the major final debutant, who was not born when Williams won the 1999 title, sealed a stunning triumph, leaving Serena still level with Chris Evert for US Open championships (six) and match wins (101).

As players walk out of the the tunnel and into Arthur Ashe Stadium, they are greeted by a plaque adorned with four famous words uttered by Billie Jean King - "Pressure is a privilege".

Of all the greats to have graced the sport of tennis, no player has embraced that motto more than Serena Williams.

At her most dangerous with her back against the wall, Williams' major-trophy laden career has been defined by the American's ability to thrive when the match situation appears most dire, to ratchet up the intensity and summon her very best when it is most needed.

However, standing between her and a record-tying 24th grand slam title in the US Open final is a teenager who may be her heir apparent in that regard.

Bianca Andreescu only has eight major match wins to her name, six of them coming in this year's event at Flushing Meadows. She was not even born when Williams appeared in her first slam final.

The contrast between the two finalists could not be more stark. Yet, when it comes to on-court intensity, there is a strong argument that Andreescu is already the 37-year-old's equal.

If she continues to produce turnarounds akin to her second-set comeback in the semi-final with Belinda Bencic, the Canadian will soon have a similar reputation for excelling in the moments the vast majority shrink under.

Aptly described as a "warrior and a street fighter" by her coach Sylvain Bruneau on Friday, at the age of 19 Andreescu is a wonderfully entertaining player to watch.

She is blessed with great power and brings tremendous variety to her game, but it is what she does after and in-between points that makes so mesmeric.

Andreescu lives and breathes for every point. In each game she seems to fight with her own internal sense of frustation and it is a surprise when a point she wins is not greeted by a vociferous "Yes! C'mon!" or by her barking at her support team.

Comfort is not a word that naturally comes to mind when watching Andreescu. However, she seems most at ease when in need of a fightback, so being break-point down is viewed more as an opportunity rather than a problem.

Trailing 5-2 in the second against Bencic, having won the first on a tie-break, there was never any thought of her easing off and saving energy for a decider. Andreescu attacked, Bencic got tight and any confidence the Swiss had built up ebbed away as she lost five straight games and handed the match to the main-draw debutant.

"I think when I'm down, I play my best tennis. Whenever my back is against the wall, I think I'm just extra focused in those moments," Andreescu told a news conference.

"I remember I told myself at 5-2 that I didn't want to go in three sets. So I think just that switched my mindset. I was just really, really focused.

"It's [fearlessness] just inside of me somehow. I think it's just my passion for the game, as well. I don't like to lose, so I just try my best every match. I expect a lot from myself, so I think that pressure also helps me do my best in matches."

Andreescu's belief has grown throughout a stunning year. Having failed to qualify for the US Open last year, her 2019 has encompassed a final in Auckland and titles at Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup, where an ailing Williams retired four games into the final.

The desire to win at Flushing Meadows, however, has been there for a long time.

"When I was 16, after I won the Orange Bowl title, I remember I wrote myself a cheque of this tournament, winning the tournament obviously," said Andreescu. "Ever since that moment, I just kept visualising that.

"If that can happen on Saturday, then that would be pretty cool."

She will be able to cash a cheque for $3.85million should she prevail on Saturday. To do so, Andreescu will need to overcome the greatest player of all time, with Williams chasing history in front of her home crowd at the world's biggest tennis stadium.

A monumental challenge, but one Andreescu will unquestionably show no fear in facing.

Serena Williams will play her 10th US Open final on Saturday - 20 years on from her first.

The 37-year-old is set to step out at Arthur Ashe Stadium in pursuit of her 24th grand slam title and yet more history.

Williams is now established as one of the greatest athletes of all time, but how did she and the women's tennis world look in September 1999?

We take a step back in time.


SERENA'S EARLY STRIDES

Williams entered the 1999 US Open as a 17-year-old, but she had already played four WTA Tour finals and was the seventh seed.

Victory over Steffi Graf in the Indian Wells title match had shown just what she could do on the big stage, and she had a whole host of victories over top-10 players to her name by the time she arrived at Flushing Meadows for what was her seventh major.

Williams defeated world number one Martina Hingis three times in 1999, with the third and final victory securing her landmark title in New York.

An incredible run had seen her already beat Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles and defending champion Lindsay Davenport.


THE WILLIAMS DYNASTY

The Williams name was well known on the tour by the time Serena started to really make waves, as sister Venus, two years her senior, had reached the US Open final in the 1997 season.

That was a first tour-level final of any sort for Venus and she was thrashed by Hingis. But Venus won the Miami Open in consecutive years - beating Serena in the 1999 final - and triumphed at the Internazionali d'Italia before heading to the US Open.

Venus was made to wait until Wimbledon in 2000 to taste grand slam victory, however, losing to Hingis in the 1999 Flushing Meadows semis as Serena celebrated a first triumph.

Yet the dominant Williams doubles team had already been established, with victory at the French Open and another in New York.


SEIZING THE POWER

Just as is common in 2019, the major titles were evenly distributed on the WTA Tour in 1999. Hingis won in Melbourne, Graf triumphed at the French Open and then Davenport came out on top at Wimbledon.

Davenport had been the title holder at the US Open, too, until Serena triumphed.

But the arrival of the Williams sisters signalled the end of dominant times for Hingis, Graf and Davenport. The latter claimed her final grand slam title at the 2000 Australian Open, but Hingis did not win a singles major again after Serena's breakthrough. Graf retired just weeks before the 1999 US Open.

Hingis still topped the rankings at the end of 1999, but Venus was third and Serena fourth. And this was still months before Bianca Andreescu, Saturday's opponent for Serena in New York, was even born.

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