Dominic Thiem has claimed the U.S. Open men’s singles title. The win over friend and rival Alexander Zverev (GER) marked his Grand Slam breakthrough after losing three previous finals, and was done in impressive style, as he became the first man in the Open era to win the final from two sets to love down. In the women’s draw Naomi Osaka (JPN) secured her second US Open title with another come-from-behind win, defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
With plenty of plot twists in this year of unknowns, the U.S. Open went ahead in its New York ‘bubble’. The event was scaled back, with no junior or qualifying competitions played, smaller doubles draws and no mixed doubles.
With the focus squarely on the men’s and women’s singles events, many statements were made both on and off the court. In the absence of both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, world #1 Novak Djokovic’s victory was ordained by many as fait accompli. However, as fate would have it, the three-time champion was infamously defaulted for accidentally hitting a line judge with a misguided smack of a ball, paving the way for a new Grand Slam champion.
Thiem and Zverev advanced to final in contrasting styles. Thiem dropped just one set (to former champion Marin Cilic) in six matches while the German was forced to come from behind on several occasions, including a memorable five-set semi-final against Pablo Carreño (ESP). The championship decider saw Zverev rapidly carve out a two-set lead before Thiem began to claw his way back in typically dogged style. A nervy fifth set paved the way for the first US Open final ever to be decided by a tie-break, with the Austrian eventually claiming victory 8-6. With the win, the run of European Grand Slam champions stretches to 42 consecutive tournaments, dating back to the Australian Open in 2010.
Victoria Azarenka was the only European representative in the women’s semi-finals. The Belarusian made it to her fifth major final by scoring an impressive win over an in-form Serena Williams in the semis. Like Williams, Azarenka is still searching for her first Slam title post-motherhood, and for a while looked as if she would achieve it, as she raced to a one-set lead over Naomi Osaka.
The Japanese player, who had been making her own headlines for her stance on social justice issues, was in to her third major final. Having overcome her biggest hurdle in round three over Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, a former Tennis Europe Junior Tour #1, in the final Osaka rallied from a set and a break down to shatter Azarenka’s dream comeback with a 1-6 6-3 6-3 win to hoist her second U.S. Open trophy and third Grand Slam title overall.
There was more good news for European players in the doubles. It was a second coming for another mum, Vera Zvonareva (RUS) who played with Laura Siegemund (GER) to win the women’s doubles while Croatia’s Mate Pavic teamed with Bruno Soares (BRA) to take the men’s doubles title.
With the finalists now racing to Europe to take part in this week’s Italian Open ahead of the rescheduled Roland Garros, the focus moves to a belated clay court season.
TENNIS EUROPE JUNIOR TOUR
There may have been no juniors in New York but there were however plenty of Tennis Europe Junior Tour tournaments played throughout the continent this week. For a full list of final results, click here.
14&U ÖTV Oberpullendorf Europe Junior Tour (AUT)
14&U Torneo Pescara (ITA)
14&U Allan Weisman Memorial, Jaffa (ISR)
16&U Jelgava Open (LAT)
14&U Bulgaria Cup, Svilengrad (BUL)
14&U Neride Cup, Rakovnik (CZE)
14&U Airok Viljandi Open (EST)
14&U Amjoy Cup, Bergeijk (NED) | Gallery
14&U Northern Vision Open, Oslo (NOR)
14&U Balashiha Open (RUS)
14&U Tempo Company Open, Beograd (SRB) | Gallery
16&U Krakow Cup (POL)
16&U Sistelmar Junior Cup, Porto (POR)
16&U Luka Koper Junior Open (SLO) | Gallery
16&U San Marino Junior Cup (SMR) | Gallery
16&U Galychyna Cup, Lviv (UKR)
The week of 14-20 September sees another 11 Tennis Europe Junior Tour events held in 10 countries. All the latest draws and results can be found on the Junior Tour calendar.