Another US Open has passed us by and what a fantastic event this year’s competition was. Rafael Nadal clinched another title at Flushing Meadows, and homegrown hero Sloane Stephens won her first ever Grand Slam trophy. Now that the dust has settled from all the excitement that comes with the event, we can take a look back at the individual performances and who impressed us out on the courts.
Men’s Singles – Rafael Nadal
The ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal added to his successful year after taking out the French Open earlier in the season for the 10th time in his illustrious career. He won the men’s singles for the third time in New York, after defeating Kevin Anderson in straight sets in the final.
As we all know, sometimes the Spaniard can struggle on the outdoor hard courts, with the extra speed and bounce that comes off the surface. However, the seasoned veteran wasn’t fazed at all this year and only dropped three sets on his way to the showdown with Anderson.
His remarkable career resurgence has put him back in the number one spot, and with the way he’s playing at the moment, you wouldn’t want to come up against him anytime soon. His next major tennis tournament will be in January when he heads to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open.
The South African had a dream run at the tournament and finished with his career-best placing coming in runner-up after succumbing to Nadal in the final. He has never managed to get past the fourth round in any previous major Grand Slam event, and to make it that far shows just what the 31-year old is capable of.
It was devastating for the current number 15 who came so close to making his dream come true but fell just short. He can, however, be extremely proud of his performance on the court and of the fantastic tennis he played throughout the competition. He has been hitting some great form over the past four years, and as he moves into his prime, he’s becoming a real danger man on the circuit. Anderson played some absolutely top quality shots over the duration of the event, and if he keeps on moving forward it won’t be long till he lifts a Grand Slam trophy.
The Swiss was coming off the back of yet another title after taking out Wimbledon prior to the US Open and was looking in great shape. He went in as the front-runner to lift the coveted trophy and things were looking good until his quarterfinal clash with Juan Martin Del Porto. After losing the first set 5-7 he fought back to take the second 6-3. The third went to a tie-break but the Argentinian eventually got the better of Federer, and then put the game to bed defeating him 6-4 in the fourth.
The world number two didn’t get there the easy way though and had two early scares in the first and second rounds to Francis Tiafoe and Mikhail Youzhny respectively. Both players pushed Federer to five sets with Tiafoe even beating him in one set 6-1.
He will now join Nadal in Melbourne to defend his Australian Open title after taking out the tournament last year for the fifth time. He is currently equal with Novak Djokovic to win the event, with the pair sitting at +350, and Nadal just behind them on +360. Some punters may be worried about Federer’s form after his display in New York and how it will affect his showing in Australia. People may wish to take advantage of one of the free bets offered online at tipping sites such as Oddschecker, if they have doubts about the Swiss’ ability to add to his Grand Slam tally. Federer will be looking to make up for his disappointing finish at the Meadows though and is going to be a fierce competitor as always come January.
Women’s Singles – Sloane Stephens
What a Cinderella story this year has been for Sloane Stephens. The 24-year old had to pull out of last year’s US Open due to a right stress fracture and underwent surgery back in January. Her first major competition back on the circuit was Wimbledon, but she was knocked out in the first round.
Then she entered the US Open and announced to the world she was well and truly back to her best. She played some magnificent tennis throughout the tournament, heavily relying on her extremely high level of fitness to outplay her opponents from behind the baseline. Her athleticism gives her the ability to chase down balls and turn a defensive shot into an offensive shot while making it look so easy.
There was a massive American contingent at this year’s event, with one player in every quarterfinal. All players won their round and, subsequently, the semi-finals were completely made up of players from the States.
Stephens defeated Venus Williams in three sets to book herself a place in the final, and a chance at her first ever major Grand Slam title. Next up she faced fellow compatriot Madison Keys, where she used her powerful backhand and aggressive play at the net to win the match and her first US Open. It was incredible to see her achieve her goal after a difficult year of injury and rehabilitation, and there will be more titles coming soon for this wonderful athlete.
The young American had an absolutely stellar tournament at Flushing Meadows and was unlucky not to take home her maiden Grand Slam win. On her road to the final, she played with confidence and flair which saw her drop only two sets before running into Stephens.
In her semi-final she made short work of CoCo Vandeweghe, finishing the match off in two quick sets 6-1, 6-2. This result shocked a few spectators after CoCo had defeated world number one Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals, and it was expected that there would be a real battle between the pair.
After the match, Vandeweghe broke down in tears while speaking to the press and said she was amazed by how hot Keys was running. She said she tried to stay in there and hope that Madison would start to go cold, but unfortunately for CoCo it just didn’t happen. This is a testament to how the 22-year old played the whole time in the competition and she blitzed all of her opponents up until the last match.
It was her highest ever placing since she made the semi-final of the Australian Open back in 2015. With such a ridiculous amount of talent and at such a young age, she is undoubtedly going to be one of the game’s superstars in the near future.
This was a huge year for Vandeweghe as she made her first two semifinals at a Grand Slam event. The first was at the Australian Open back in January where she went down to Venus Willams in three sets after taking the first in a tie-break.
In New York, she used her devastatingly strong serve to demolish her challengers in addition to her efficiency at the net. She had some grueling matches in the early stages but used her powerful shots off the baseline to line up a quarterfinal showdown with Pliskova. The first set was a tough one and Vandeweghe had to battle it out in a tie-break which she eventually won 7-4. After that, she sailed through the second set quite comfortably beating the number one 6-3.
In the semi-final, she was unlucky to come up against Keys who was in electric form and suffered a straight sets defeat.
It was a hugely successful Open for America’s ladies and the future looks extremely bright. No doubt it is only a matter of time before one of these three women are lifting their maiden Grand Slam trophy at one of the four majors.