NEW YORK (AP) — Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has another role that suits her: rooting on friend Serena Williams as the tennis star chased a U.S. Open championship.
Meghan sat in Williams’ box at Arthur Ashe Stadium and stood and cheered like thousands of other fans when Williams hit a booming overhand to win a point in the first set. Williams fell short in her bid to set her crowning achievement of matching Margaret Court with 24 Grand Slam championships. Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu beat the 37-year-old Williams 6-3, 7-5 on Saturday to win her first Grand Slam title.
The former Meghan Markle, who starred in the cable show “Suits,” sat in front of fashion influencer Anna Wintour and behind Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian.
Wintour wore her usual dark shades and did not crack a smile when she was shown on the big screen as “Vogue” by Madonna blared through the stadium. Meghan smiled and waved to a cheering crowd as she was billed on the screen as “HRH The Duchess of Sussex.” The Dutchess wore a belted denim long-sleeve dress and headlined the A-list starpower that attended the final: Spike Lee, Andy Cohen and Taraji P. Henson were among the bold names in the stands.
Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said he talked a little tennis with the Duchess before the match.
“But I know her from before,” she was famous, he said with a smile.
Meghan struck out as serving as a good-luck charm. She was Briefcase Model No. 24 — the number of slams Williams was trying to reach — when she appeared on the TV show “Deal or No Deal.”
While her appearance at Flushing Meadows sparked a media blitz, the royal family is a constant presence at Wimbledon.
SHE THE NORTH
Bianca Andreescu has a U.S. Open title and a slogan inspired by fellow Canadian champions, the Toronto Raptors.
Her proud father, Nicu pulled out a red hat with the phrase emblazoned on the front.
First the Raptors, “now Bianca,” Nicu said.
Nicu and his wife, Maria, became a bit of sensation during the Open. Maria usually wears black sunglasses and came to one match holding the family, Coco, on her lap.
“We’re trying to keep it cool, to be grounded and we try to do the same with Bianca so she’s well grounded and she knows that more will come,” Nicu said.
Her parents gave Bianca a pre-match pep talk — but Nicu refused to spill his championship words of wisdom.
“That’s a secret, sorry,” he said.
The Raptors adopted the “We the North” slogan on their way to the NBA championship.
The U.S. Open mixed doubles champions are ready to cash some of the same check amounts as the other doubles winners.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray successfully defended their U.S. Open mixed doubles championships, then stumped for a bump in prize money. The men’s and women’s U.S. Open doubles champions win $740,000 (split between the partners) while the mixed doubles champs share $160,000.
“I actually think it should be closer,” Mattek-Sands said. “Mixed doubles is an undervalued tennis product. You have guys and girls playing on the same level, no handicaps. The guys aren’t feeling bad for the girls. The girls pick on the guys. It’s generally amazing tennis out there. We have great points. Guys and girls together, not too many sports say they do that.”
Murray, one of the stars of doubles play, was ready for increased prize money.
“I think doubles is kind of the bedrock of the amateur game,” he said. “It’s a huge part of our sport. I think it definitely has the potential to offer greater value to these tournaments than perhaps it currently is or currently allowed to.”
Mattek-Sands and Murray are the first team to defend a U.S. Open mixed doubles title since Kevin Curren and Anne Smith in 1981 and 1982. Murray became the first man in the Open era to win three straight mixed doubles titles in Flushing Meadows after starting the run in 2017 with Martina Hingis.
Murray won his fifth Grand Slam mixed doubles title and Mattek-Sands won her third.
“I’m making him drink some champagne out of the trophy. We’re having some pizza,” Mattek-Sands said.
ESPN says TV ratings are up at the Open.
The men’s semifinals Friday earned a 1.2 overnight rating, up 20% from a 1.0 year ago. ESPN is averaging a 1.0 overnight rating overall across ESPN and ESPN2, up 25% from a 0.8 at this point last year.
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