The final tennis grand slam of the year, the U.S. Open, wrapped up September 8, and it was one of the most exciting tournaments in the past few years. Big upsets in both the men’s and women’s brackets shook up the Open and made each and every match unpredictable and fun to watch.
The men’s bracket featured the one and two seeds in the semis, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, as well as two underdogs, the ten seed Kei Nishikori, the first Japanese man to make a semifinal of a major since 1918, and Marin Cilic, the fourteenth seed from Croatia.
The finals were a battle of the double digit seeds, Nishikori against Cilic. And although the score may not indicate it, the match was tough-fought and entertaining. In the end, the Croatian became the champion of the U.S. Open, winning in straight sets 6-3 6-3 6-3, and winning his first major.
The player everyone had their eyes on, however, was the Japanese player Kei Nishikori. The 24-year-old captivated people from around the world with his magical run to the finals. Along the way, Nishikori beat the fifth seed Milos Raonic, the third seed Stan Wawrinka, and the number one seed Novak Djokovic.
One of the most remarkable things about the wins for Nishikori is the stamina he displayed. The matches against Raonic and Wawrinka each went to five sets and lasted over four hours. Then Nishikori had enough left in the tank to defeat the top seed in only four sets.
Another player that had a great run in the tournament was the Frenchman Gael Monfils, the twentieth seed. Monfils is widely known in the tennis world not only for his blazing speed on the court, but his entertaining, unconventional, and unique style of play.
Before he ran into Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, Monfils had not dropped a set to anyone he played. He even went up two sets against Federer before losing his first, second, and then third set of the tournament. The loss seemed to wear out Federer too when he lost in the next round to the eventual champ, Marin Cilic, in straight sets.
And while it didn’t happen in the men’s singles tournament, Bob and Mike Bryan made history in the men’s doubles. Not only did they win their fifth U.S. Open title, the pair won their 100th career title as a team and celebrated with their signature chest bump.
As exciting as the men’s side of the tournament was, the women’s provided just as many thrills. On the women’s side, veteran and number one seed Serena Williams was joined by tenth seed Caroline Wozniacki, seventeenth seed Ekaterina Makarova, and unseeded Shuai Peng in the semifinals.
Serena dominated in both her semifinal against Makarova and in the final against Wozniacki. Uncannily, Williams won her final in straight sets, 6-3 6-3, just like Cilic did against Nishikori.
One of the hallmarks of this year’s U.S. Open was the extreme temperatures. No other match displayed this more than the semifinal between Peng and Wozniacki. At 4-3 in the second set Peng doubled over and clutched her thighs, clearly in agonizing pain. The excruciating pain even rendered her incapable of moving over for the next service point.
Peng was taken off the court for nearly ten minutes to receive treatment, and even when she returned to the court she was unable to continue and was forced to retire, which put Wozniacki into the finals.
At just 24 years old Wozniacki was pretty young to be making her second finals appearance at a major. Other women even younger than her made big splashes at the US Open too.
CiCi Bellis, a 15 year old American ranked number 1,208 made history as the youngest player to win a match in the main-draw since 1996, defeating twelfth seed Dominika Cibulkova. Aleksandra Krunic, a 21 year old from Serbia, defeated the third seed Petra Kvitova before losing in the Round of 16. Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old from Switzerland, got even further, making it into the quarterfinals after beating both the sixth seed Angelique Kerber and ninth seed Jelena Jankovic.
From the bright, young stars of tomorrow to the veterans of yesterday, this year’s US Open didn’t only have high temperatures, it also had high excitement. The tournament saw many higher seeded players make their mark, beating the top seeds and showing the world what they are made of. After a great year of tennis that saw plenty of new stars rise up, next year and beyond looks to be very exciting in the tennis world.