Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Chan, Venus advance to US Open final

FIRST-TIMERS:Bianca Andreescu became the first teen US Open semi-finalist in a decade and is to face Belinda Bencic, who is making her first Grand Slam semi debut

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, NEW YORK

Chan Hao-ching on Wednesday came out on top of a Taiwanese “showdown of sisters” in the mixed doubles semi-finals at the US Open, ending elder sister Latisha’s bid for a third straight Grand Slam title at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Top seeds Chan Hao-ching and Michael Venus edged fourth seeds Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 in 1 hour, 32 minutes in the final match of the day at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The Taiwanese-New Zealand duo saved three of four break points and converted two of four, while firing 11 aces and taking advantage of their opponents’ seven double faults and 26 unforced errors to advance to their second final in three years in New York.

Latisha Chan and Croatian Dodig were looking to claim their third straight mixed doubles Grand Slam title after victories at the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July, but it will be Chan Hao-ching and Venus who will be looking to go one better than their loss in the 2017 final to Swiss-British duo Martina Hingis and Jamie Murray.

The top seeds are to face defending champions Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US and Murray after the wild-cards cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over third seeds Samantha Stosur of Australia and Rajeev Ram of the US in the earlier semi-final.

In the women’s singles, Canadian Bianca Andreescu became the first teen US Open semi-finalist in a decade, rallying to defeat Belgium’s Elise Mertens and advance to a last-four matchup with Belinda Bencic.

Andreescu, a 19-year-old from suburban Toronto, downed 25th seed Mertens 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to book a clash against fellow Grand Slam semi-final debutant Bencic, the Swiss 13th seed who beat Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

Serena Williams, seeking her 24th Grand Slam singles title to match Margaret Court’s all-time record, is to face Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the other semi-final.

Either Bencic or Andreescu, who have never played each other, will reach their first Grand Slam final tomorrow at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where first-time Grand Slam winners have been crowned three of the past four years.

Andreescu, a winner this year at Indian Wells and Toronto, is the first teen in the US Open’s last four since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.

Andreescu could become the first teen to win a Grand Slam title since Maria Sharapova captured the 2006 US Open and she would be the youngest US Open champion since Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2004.

Mertens had lost only 16 games in four matches, but Andreescu, her first seeded foe, hit 40 winners to 22 for Mertens.

Mertens broke for a 3-1 edge when Andreescu missed a backhand volley then held twice to claim the first set in 38 minutes.

Andreescu broke at love for a 4-2 lead and closed the second set by taking 16 of the last 20 points.

In the third, Andreescu smashed a backhand winner to break for a 5-3 lead and another on match point.

Bencic went on a 5-1 tiebreak run to seize a 6-3 edge and took the first set after an hour when Vekic swatted a forehand beyond the baseline.

Vekic, who had 28 unforced errors, netted a backhand to surrender a break and hand Bencic a 4-3 edge in the second set. Bencic held and broke again to close out the match.

In the men’s singles, Rafael Nadal said that he felt “in good shape” after advancing to the semi-finals with a battling 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 win over Argentine 20th seed Diego Schwartzman.

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