By Arthur Kapetanakis
"This is cool," Bianca Andreescu said with a smile as she picked up the latest trophy of her blossoming young career.
Along with Daniil Medvedev on the men's side, the 19-year-old was named the women's 2019 US Open Series Breakout Performer in recognition for her Rogers Cup title on her home courts in Canada. Voted on by a select panel of tennis media and broadcasters, plus fans (via men's and women's votes on Twitter), the award honors two players at the early stages of their careers for a signature performance over the course of the five-week Series.
While Andreescu did all her damage in Toronto, Medvedev's US Open Series success spanned three tournaments—runs to the final at the Citi Open and Rogers Cup, followed by a title at the Western & Southern Open in consecutive weeks.
The 23-year-old Russian, whose Series run lifted him from No. 10 to No. 5 in the ATP rankings, was a unanimous choice for the men's award.
"It's true, it was a big breakthrough even if I started in the Top 10 already," he said. "I had never been in a Masters 1000 final before. I think I've never reached consecutive finals before... even in ITF Futures or Challengers.
"Reaching the Top 5, which not many people in the world reach in their careers, is a big moment and a big breakthrough."
Andreescu, who became the first Canadian in 50 years to win the Rogers Cup singles title, edged 20-year old American Sofia Kenin in the voting. Though the gritty teen does not yet find all the accolades "normal," it was her second top-tier WTA title in 2019—she first burst onto the scene by winning Indian Wells in March.
"I do believe that I can do good things in this sport and I'm slowly doing that," she said of her dazzling year. But even she did not see the Rogers Cup result coming, in her first full tournament back after four months dealing with shoulder troubles.
"Oh yeah, I was surprised big-time," she said, referencing her stint on the sidelines. Since retiring from the Miami Open in March with shoulder issues, her only competitive action came in a first-round win at the French Open. She was slated to face Kenin in Round 2, but was forced to withdraw after reaggravating the injury.
"Capturing the title was definitely something I wasn't expecting, but I am trying not to take anything for granted and that's what I did during the Rogers Cup. I'm just really happy to be healthy right now."
Read More: US Open Series Interview - Bianca Andreescu
At the US Open, both Andreescu and Medvedev are excited for the opportunity to further prove themselves at the games' highest level. The Canadian has only competed in three Grand Slam main draws to date, notching opening-round victories this year in Melbourne and Paris. Medvedev counts a fourth-round run at this year's Aussie Open—where he lost in four competiitve sets to Novak Djokovic—as his best major performance.
The Russian said at US Open Media Day that he does not consider himself a favorite in New York, as he is still working on finding consistency in the Slams' best-of-five format.
Andreescu was a bit more bold in her outlook: "Coming into this tournament, more people expect me to do well, but I also expect myself to do well," she said, speaking exclusively with USOpen.org about the added pressure on her entering the fortnight.
However you break it down, both breakout performers are primed for a Grand Slam breakthrough at the 2019 US Open.