On the 27th of August 2018, the last grand slam of the year started at the big apple (flushing meadows) New York City. It has indeed been two weeks of intense and exciting tennis in extreme weather conditions, with temperatures rising as high as 37℃.
Nevertheless, we have witnessed two weeks of breathtaking tennis and also a tournament full of controversies. At the end of the two weeks, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka were the two champions from the men’s and women’s singles respectively. However, they were not the only talking points of the tournament and we will take a look at some other things that caught the eye of the world in the last two weeks.
1. Halep unwanted record: Going into the tournament, Halep was the in-form player on the women’s tour having won in Canada and reaching the finals in Cincinnati. However, on the first day of the competition, she became the first top seed to lose in the first round of the US Open, losing to Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.
It was the second consecutive year that the Romanian will lose in the first round and has now lost 12 first-round matches in 34 major appearances. ( a damning stat for a player like Halep).
2. Japan has a new star: Kei Nishikori has been the star of Asian and Japan tennis for a while now. However, all that changed on Saturday night after Naomi’s Osaka win over her idol Serena Williams in the women’s singles final. In doing so Naomi Osaka becomes the first Japanese to win a grand slam thereby confirming her status as the new face of tennis in Japan.
Though for some it will be remembered as a final that saw Serena sparked sexism row, that shouldn’t take anything away from the performance of the 2015 WTA rising star. She served well and played aggressive tennis to beat her childhood idol. Her victory means she will rise to a career-high ranking of No 7.
3. Young guns fail to deliver: The last time none of the big three failed to reach the semi-finals of a slam was in 2004. This year a lot was expected from the young ones on the ATP tour to finally end the dominance of the big three who are well into their thirties. However the likes of Dimitrov, Zevrev have flattered to deceive.
Though Dominic Theim reached the \French open final and quarterfinals of the US Open, it was the big three that still dominated the four grand slams of the year with Federer winning the Australian Open, Nadal winning the French Open and Djokovic winning Wimbledon and US Open.
4. Djokovic Back on form: This time last year Djokovic was on the treatment table, taking the last six months off to have surgery on his elbow.
However, a year later he is just two slams away from completing a second non-calendar slam and also the sole owner of the record of career masters. It has been a remarkable turnaround for Djokovic who as at May was in danger of leaving the top 30 but is now in contention for the year-end No 1.
5. Umpires controversies: It was a tournament full of controversies ranging from Muhamad Layhani giving Nick Krygios Pep talk to Alize Cornet receiving a warning for changing her clothes on the court.
However, the biggest of them all was saved for the last which happened in the women’s final where umpire Carlos Ramos gave Serena a game penalty which sparked an allegation of sexism from Serena and some section of the media.
Nonetheless, Serena has been duly fined by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for breaking the rules, but it is something the USTA will want to look at to prevent a repeat of the scenario in the future.