2017 U.S. Open Recap

Over the past two weeks, the best tennis players in the world descended upon Flushing Meadows for the biggest tournament of the year.  Although the event was missing some notable figures, (Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Victoria Azarenka, among others) the tournament did not disappoint and allowed for some of the future stars of the sport to make a name for themselves.

The Women’s Draw

This year’s US Open saw a living legend claim yet another Grand Slam, and a rising star fresh from injury burst back onto the scene to claim her first major title.  With the absence of tournament mainstay and six-time champion Serena Williams, the women’s field was wide open.  The most anticipated player in the tournament was Maria Sharapova, who entered the tournament as a wild card after coming off a 15-month suspension for using a banned substance.  Spectators that came out to the first night at Arthur Ashe were treated to an epic match where Sharapova triumphed over #2 seed Simona Halep.  Sharapova was one of the main draws of the tournament until she was finally eliminated in the Round of 16 by Anastasjia Sevastova. sharapova us open

The storyline that would evenutally overshadow Sharapova’s return was the all-American women’s semifinals, a feat that had not been done at the U.S. Open since 1981.  The semifinalists included the veteran Venus Williams, making her 20th appearance in the U.S. Open, along with young up-and-comers Coco Vandeweghe, Madison Keys, and the eventual champion, Sloane Stephens.

In Saturday’s final, 24-year old Sloane Stephens defeated her good friend Madison Keys in straight sets to claim her first Grand Slam title. Throughout the tournament, it was well-documented that Stephens had previously suffered a foot injury that had sidelined her for 11 months prior to this year’s Wimbledon.  Before the U.S. Open, Stephens was ranked #957 in the world and after her victory will be #17, an unprecedented jump in rankings. She is the lowest seeded woman to win the U.S. Open in the Open Era, and only the second unseeded woman to win the tournament. sloane holds trophy

The Men’s Draw

Prior to the U.S. Open, the tennis world was hoping to finally get to see a clash of titans between World #1 Rafael Nadal and #2 Roger Federer.  If everything played out correctly, the two would meet in the semifinals for the first time ever at the U.S. Open.  Federer struggled noticeably through the first few rounds of the tournament, having to endure multiple five-set matches to get to the quarterfinals.  His inconsistent play eventually got the best of him as he was defeated in four sets by crowd favorite Juan Martin del Potro, who had previously come back from a two-set deficit to upset Dominic Thiem in the previous round.  roger federer racquet

On the other hand, Nadal held up his end of the deal by cruising through his half of the draw, never having to face any opponents in the top-20 world ranking.  Nadal displayed amazing power with the forehand throughout the tournament, and eventually claimed his third U.S. Open title and 16th major championship by defeating veteran Kevin Anderson in straight sets.  nadal wins us open

Doubles

In one of the best feel-good stories of the event, Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Hingis went on to win both the ladies doubles’ championship and mixed doubles championship. Hingis is making a great case to be one of the best doubles players of all time, with 13 ladies’ doubles titles, and 7 mixed doubles titles.  She is also the 17th woman in history to have completed a career slam in doubles.

Look Ahead to Next Year

This year brought in a major milestone with the 20th anniversary of Arthur Ashe stadium, the biggest tennis stadium in the world.  However, next year’s celebration should be even bigger as we look forward to the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Open, and the opening of the much-anticipated Louis Armstrong Stadium.  louis armstrong stadium

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2017 U.S. Open Quarterfinal Preview

The greatest tennis players in the world have all flocked to Queens, New York for the year’s biggest Grand Slam.  The first week of the U.S Open was filled with many memorable moments, including grand upsets, rainy days, and the emergence of some young, next-generation stars in the making.  After some outstanding play, the field has dwindled down to just eight players each in both the men’s and women’s draws Let’s take a look at the upcoming matchups for the quarterfinals:

Men’s Draw

#1 Rafael Nadal vs. Andrey Rublev

The always rambunctious Spaniard has cruised through this year’s tournament and has reached the quarterfinals for the first time in four years.  He won his last match against Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets to face the young Russian Rublev on Tuesday. At 19 years old, Rublev is the youngest male to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi.  He had to defeat two top-10 players (David Goffin and Grigor Dmitrov) in order to progress to this point. In the first quarterfinal tournament appearance, Rublev looks to make the biggest upset of his career against Rafa.

#3 Roger Federer vs. #24 Juan Martin del Potro

Federer is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time and he has had one of his best seasons this year, winning both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.  So far in the U.S. Open, he has been tested, having to play two five-set matches to begin his campaign. In his latest matches, he has been stronger and cruised past his opponents. However, this upcoming match should be his greatest test yet as he faces the ultra-resilient Del Potro.  In his latest match, he fed off the energy of the heavily favorable crowd to come from a two-set deficit to defeat #6 Dominic Thiem.  The 2009 U.S. Open champion Del Potro will either be riding the wave of momentum from that dramatic win or come out fatigued from having to fight so hard in that match.

#12 Pablo Carreno Busta vs. #29 Diego Schwartzman

 

This is Carreno Busta’s second appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal this year.  A few months ago, he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the French Open quarterfinal.  This will be his first match in the U.S. Open against an opponent that was not a qualifier. However, he had a tough battle in the last round against the up-and-coming Canadian star Denis Shapovalov. On the other side of the net, Schwartzman at 5’7” is trying to make history and become the shortest man to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era. He has had an impressive run to this point with wins over Lucas Pouille and Marin Cilic.

#17 Sam Querrey vs. #28 Kevin Anderson

Sam Querrey has made a big name for himself this year and is becoming the toast of American men’s tennis.  He looks to back up his semifinal appearance at this year’s Wimbledon with another such run in the U.S. Open.  His last match against Mischa Zverev was very impressive as he defeated the German in just 77 minutes, accumulating 18 aces over the course of the match.  The giant (by tennis standards) 6’ 8” South African Kevin Anderson has played some of his best tennis this year.  This is his second U.S. Open quarterfinal appearance in the last three years and he is looking to achieve a top-20 ranking after this tournament. His last Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance was at this year’s Wimbledon where he lost to the same opponent he will face on Tuesday—Sam Querrey.

Women’s Draw

 #1 Karolina Pliskova vs. #20 Coco Vandeweghe

Pliskova has been impressive in the tournament so far and cruised in her latest match in the round of 16 to defeat American Jennifer Brady in straight sets.  Besides competing for the crown at Flushing Meadows, Pliskova must also reach the finals in order to keep her #1 overall world ranking. Vandeweghe is continuing to ride the wave of her best Grand Slam season to date, making an appearance in the Australian open semifinal, Wimbledon quarterfinal, and now looking to progress further in the U.S. Open.

#9 Venus Williams vs. #13 Petra Kvitova

Of all the competitors left in the draw, Venus Williams has been the most familiar name in tennis fans’ lexicon for over 20 years. Making her 20th appearance in the U.S. Open, Venus is the oldest woman left in the draw at 37 years of age.  She has had an impressive resurgence this season, reaching the finals in both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and looking for her 3rd title at Flushing Meadows.  One of the biggest stories in tennis was the tragedy that Kvitova faced when she suffered a terrible hand injury after fending off invaders in her home just nine months ago.  Since then, the lefty has made a splendid comeback. Her last match was her most impressive as she defeated the incoming favorite to win, Garbine Muguruza in three sets.

Sloane Stephens vs. #16 Anastasija Sevastova

Sloane Stephens is among four American women who have reached this year’s U.S. Open quarterfinals. The 24-year old has made an impressive comeback this year winning 12 of her last 14 matches after being sidelined with a foot injury for 11 months.  Sevastova is looking to continue the momentum after her impressive victory over the most anticipated comeback player in the tournament—Maria Sharapova.  Sevastova is looking to continue to carry the torch for Latvia after her fellow countrywoman and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was eliminated earlier in the tournament.

#15 Madison Keys vs. Kaia Kanepi

Madison Keys had an impressive upset of #4 ranked Elena Svitolina in her last match at Arthur Ashe to advance to the quarterfinal. At 22 years old, she is the youngest of the American women left in the draw.  Led by her coach and former 3-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport, Keys looks to finally break through and win her first major tournament.  Kaia Kanepi is another woman looking to make a large comeback to the upper echelon of the tennis world with this U.S Open run.  The former top-20 player started this tournament as an unseeded qualifier and has had some impressive wins to reach her sixth-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Citi Open Finals Recap

By Justin Simms

On August 6, 2017, the men’s ATP finals of the Citi Open came and went with a bang.  The rising “next-gen” star Alexander Zverev emphatically beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to take the Citi Open championship, signaling that the “next generation” has already arrived.  It is Zverev’s first Citi Open championship and he did it in style, not facing a break point against a tough and accomplished opponent.

In the WTA championships, Ekaterina Makarova defeated Julia Goerges 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-0 in a redemption-driven match (Makarova had been to the Citi Open semifinals three times without advancing).  Makarova finally got over the hump and stayed true to herself and stayed mentally calm in the match against Goerges.

Henri Kontinen and John Peers defeated Wimbledon champions Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 7-6(5), 6-4 to capture their first Citi Open crown and their seventh title together.  To cap such an unlikely victory, Kontinen and Peers decided to play in the Citi Open just days before the tournament commenced.  Clearly, it turned out to be a good decision.

Shuko Aoyama and Renata Voráčová defeated Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2, asserting themselves early against two top young women players.  They were dominant at net and hit nice groundstrokes and serves to secure the tough victory.

Photo courtesy of http://www.citiopentennis.com