Wednesday, September 16, 2009

US Open: The Finales and Other Tidbits

I'm back and now just catching up on stuff. First, the US Open.

The crowning of two unlikely (and yet not really unexpected) champions marked the end of the final Grand Slam of the year.

Unranked former US Open champion Kim Clijsters captured the title for only her second Grand Slam win. It had been four years since she last played at the US open and that was the year she won. She had to fight off five Top 18 players including Venus and Serena Williams in a well-earned slam win. She is the first mother since Evonne Goolagong to win a Grand Slam title. She also becomes the first wild card to win the US Open *and* the first unranked player to win a Slam. Very nice. Kudos to her opponent, first time Grand Slam finalist Caroline Wozniacki, to battle through the minefield that was the women's draw to have her breakthrough slam.

The men's champion is Juan Martin Del Potro who defeated five-time champion US Open and world no. 1 Roger Federer by coming back down 2 sets to 1 to win in five sets 3-6 7-6 4-6 7-6 6-2. He becomes only the second guy to beat Federer in a Slam final and the third guy to win a Grand Slam title since 2004 not named Federer or Rafael Nadal. Oh, and he's the first person to defeat both Federer and Nadal in the same Grand Slam tournament. What a tournament for him! Don't cry for Roger Federer though. With his final appearance, he extends his astounding streaks of 22 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals and 7 consecutive Grand Slam finals (second only to his own record of 10 Grand Slam finals). This has to be a disappointing loss nonetheless for him, but with his twin girls and twin Grand Slam wins at the French and Wimbledon this year, I bet he will be just dandy.

Other Tidbits:

- Serena Williams really screwed up didn't she? Serving to stay in the match against Clijster, Serena was called for a foot fault and went down 15-40 giving Clijsters match point. Serena then went on to threaten the line judge and got a code violation losing another point and giving Clijster the match. She was fined $10,500 and has apologized. Are you staring at her titles? Not this time.

- The Andys disappoint. With their great showing at the French and Wimbledon this year, the hype was intense for newly crowned no. 2 Andy Murray and former US Open champion Andy Roddick. Roddick lost in the third round to fellow American John Isner while Murray crashed out in the fourth round to Marin Cilic. Maybe next time boys.

- After defeating Roddick, Isner loses in the next round thereby ensuring that no American man makes it into the US Open quarterfinals for the first time. Ouch. In the meantime Serena Williams and young Melanie Oudin carried the American flag in the woman's side, both losing to the eventual finalist.

- Flushing needs a roof. After ten days of perfect weather, Mother Nature made the US Open its bitch. It wreaked havoc for the quarterfinal and semifinal matches and extended the tournament into Monday. Come on, use the profits you got from the once again record-breaking attendance to use!

- Remember last year when Serbian players were all the rage? Oh how the mighty have fallen. Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic crashed out in the very early rounds and while Novak Djokovic did well to reach the semifinals, his slam results this year leave much to be desired.

- Also, what the heck happened to the Russians? There were no Russians in the quarterfinals in the men's and women's draw! While this result isn't too shocking in the men's side, 4 of the top 7 WTA players in the world are Russians and all of them faltered including world no. 1 Dinara Safina, US Open Series winner Elena Dementieva, and former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Yikes! BTW Maria Sharapova, still suffering yips on her serve, was beaten by Oudin in the third round.

- Rafael Nadal's knees are okay! His abdomen, however, not so much. Still his champion's heart carried him all the way to the semifinals losing to the eventual winner. Reminded me of Federer suffering mono but still reaching the Australian Open semifinals in 2008 losing to eventual champion Djokovic. No doubt there'll be better days ahead of Nadal. Look at Federer.

And with that we're slowly en route to the final tournaments of the year climaxing in the end-of-year tournaments. At this point not a lot of people are paying attention to the results except for hardcore tennis fans. But hey it's been a crazy year of tennis so far so what's a couple of weeks more? Looking forward to it!

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