The US Open is the final Grand Slam event of the season, and the New York tournament rarely fails to deliver when it comes to drama. There have been a plethora of memorable moments since the tournament’s inception, ranging from Steffi Graf’s calendar-year Grand Slam through to John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg playing out a four-hour thriller in 1980. We take a look at some of the stand-out events from the last ten years at Flushing Meadows.
Roberta Vinci denies Serena a calendar-year slam
Serena Williams had enjoyed a vintage 2015 with the all-conquering American already securing titles in Melbourne, Paris and West London, and she was heavily fancied to succeed in New York as well. She was hoping to emulate the aforementioned Steffi Graf and secure calendar-year Grand Slam success, and it was fiery Italian Roberta Vinci who stood in her way.
Serena boasted a 4-0 head-to-head record over her opponent, and after taking the first set, she could have been forgiven for getting a little complacent in the second. An excellent tactical display from Vinci helped her to turn the tie in her favour, according to The Guardian, with her sliced back-hand causing panic at the other end of the court. Her unlikely victory helped set up an all-Italian final and left Serena Williams bereft and unable to explain her unexpected loss of momentum. Remarkably, the 37-year old is still competing at the top level and has been priced up as the 4/1 favourite by Paddy Power to secure a record seventh triumph at the US Open in 2019.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2017
Bryan brothers continue to dominate in the doubles
2014 was a memorable year for the Bryan brothers, who claimed an unprecedented fifth doubles crown at this tournament. It also marked their 100th career doubles title, as reported by the BBC, with the identical twins beating Spanish duo Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in straight sets. It was the tenth successive season in which the formidable duo had recorded at least one Grand Slam triumph, and it was to be their 16th overall.
Although the crowd wasn’t aware of it at the time, this turned out to be their last appearance in the US Open final and their last major success in the doubles. It was apposite that their final Grand Slam success arrived at the Arthur Ashe Stadium with Mike Bryan admitting that “it’s always sweet winning a Grand Slam”, before adding “this just adds some extra whipped cream, cherries and nuts on top”.
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) September 7, 2014
Rafa Nadal finally completes the Grand Slam jigsaw
Rafa Nadal had become a firm favourite on the tour since announcing his arrival at the 2005 French Open. The ‘King of Clay’ went on to secure four consecutive titles at Roland Garros and also enjoyed success in the Australian Open and at SW19. However, prior to 2010, he had never managed to make it beyond the final four in New York.
His determination was evident from the start, and that steely focus helped him reach his first-ever US Open final. Despite the weather intervening, the Majorcan would eventually get the better of world-number-three Novak Djokovic in four sets. At one point, Nadal also went forty points without making an unforced error. His breathtaking display helped him become the youngest player in the open era to clinch all four Grand Slam titles, and he had finally managed to put his previous US Open disappointments firmly behind him.
This year’s US Open looks set to be another superb fortnight of competitive action, and plenty more drama and excitement looks guaranteed in 2019.