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Forejtek breaks through, Rafa closes in on Roger at US Open

Forejtek breaks through, Rafa closes in on Roger at US Open

The final Grand Slam of the season was a successful one for European players of all ages, with Rafa Nadal edging a step closer to becoming the most successful player of all time, while some recent European Junior Champions made some important strides along the road to the top. 

Adding to his doubles win at Wimbledon and last year’s European 18 & Under title, Jonas Forejtek (CZE) took the Juniors Boys’ crown in New York, in a field billowing with local players. Having seen off three Americans on his way to the final, the Czech made a comeback win in the decider, knocking off one more local player, Emilio Nava, 6-7 6-0 6-2.  Forejtek joins the likes of Stefan Edberg, Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov as a US Open boys' singles champion. He is in also in great company among his compatriots, joining Ivan Lendl and Jiri Vesely in having his name etched on the Junior Boys’ trophy.

Other European boys who forged their way into the quarterfinals included Valentin Royer (FRA), fresh from his win at the European Championships in Klosters, plus Milan Welte (GER), Jiri Lehecka (CZE) and Dominic Stricker (SUI).

Two finalists hailing from the Americas were represented in the Junior Girls’ final, with the trophy going to Maria Camila Ocasio Serrano of Colombia. The former Foligno champion is a first-time junior Slam winner, and was too strong for Alexandra Yepifanova (USA), winning the trophy 6-1 6-0.

Europe’s best performer in the girls’ draw was Oksana Selekhmeteva, the 14&U European Championships silver medalist in 2017, was knocked out by Ocasio Serrano in the semi-final. The eventual champion also accounted for last year’s European 16 & Under Champion Kamilla Bartone (LAT) in the quarter-finals. Selekhmeteva & Bartone also teamed up to take the doubles crown. 

Boys’ Doubles Final:
Eliot Spizzirri (USA) & Tyler Zinc (USA) defeated Andrew Paulson (CZE) & Alexander Zgirovsky (BLR) 7-6(4) 6-4
Girls’ Doubles Final:
Kamille Bartone (LAT) & Oksana Selekhmeteva (RUS) defeated Aubane Droguet (FRA) & Selena Janicijevic (FRA) 7-5 7-6(6)

Bianca and Rafa Rule

Rafael Nadal claimed a nineteenth career Grand Slam win, putting him just one title away from equalling Roger Federer’s record haul of 20. The Spaniard battled through a resilient comeback by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the final to post a 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 win in a match that lasted eleven minutes shy of five hours.

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) and Gael Monfils (FRA), made a return to form of sorts with their best-ever Grand Slam performances, reaching the semi-final and quarterfinal respectively. The latter was upset by the up-and-coming Italian Matteo Berrettini who, after reaching the Wimbledon fourth round, has done even better in New York with a semi-final appearance. 

It was a good tournament for the European men, who accounted for seven of eight spots in the quarter finals. Six different countries had players in the last eight: Bulgaria (Dimitrov), France (Monfils), Italy (Berrettini), Russia (Medvedev), Spain (Nadal), Switzerland (Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka).

The women’s final saw the trophy go to a Bianca Andreescu, a US Open main draw debutante and the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam. The first-ever Canadian to win a major was too strong and controlled for an inconsistent and out-manoeuvred Serena Williams, taking the match 6-3 7-5.

There were also six European women in the last eight. Belinda Bencic (SUI), a former Junior Masters champion who is now back in the top ten after two years of injury woes, made her first ever Grand Slam semi, but fell to eventual champion Andreescu. Elina Svitolina (UKR) mirrored her run to the semis in London before going down to Williams. Donna Vekic (CRO) and Elise Mertens (BEL) also posted their best-ever Grand Slam runs by reaching the quarter finals.

Men’s Doubles Final:
Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) & Robert Farah (COL) defeated Marcel Granollers (ESP) & Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 6-4 7-5
Women’s Doubles Final:
Elise Mertens (BEL) & Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) defeated Victoria Azarenka (BLR) & Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 7-5 7-5
Mixed Doubles Final:
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) & Jamie Murray (GBR) defeated Hao-Ching Chan (TPE) & Michael Venus (NZL) 6-2 6-3

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