The Smashing Highlights of the 2017 U.S. Open

September 6, 2017

Frances Tiafoe (left) and Roger Federer embrace after Federer's hard-fought victory over 5 sets.

BBC

Frances Tiafoe (left) and Roger Federer embrace after Federer’s hard-fought victory over 5 sets.

From Aug. 22 to Sept. 10, New York City hosted one of the largest tennis events in the world, bringing together players from various countries to compete for a prestigious title. This event is the US Open Championship, and much like the previous years, there will be some tough competition between the new and uprising players and tennis veterans that have dazzled the crowd for years. Any tennis fan would have their eyes on Roger Federer, five-time winner of the US Open championship. He’s currently placed as the number three overall player and is on a slow decline compared to his earlier prime years, but his authority on the court and undeniable skill still show promise nevertheless. Another star player is Rafael Nadal, the number one overall player of this year’s Open. He was injured the previous year but has made a swift comeback and may add this year’s title as his third win. Below are some of this year’s most notable and intense matches, which showcase some hidden talents that may have a chance at outperforming Federer and Nadal.

Round of 128 – No. 3 Roger Federer v. Frances Tiafoe

Roger Federer wins after 5 sets against 19-year-old Frances Tiafoe. Federer committed several errors in the first set, likely because of his recent back injury. Tiafoe took the first set, taking advantage of Federer’s inaccurate shots. On one occasion, Federer had managed to gain a break point, but failed to convert it as he sent a backhand shot into the net. In the second set, Federer seemed rejuvenated and took control of the match, moving quickly and sending shots that forced Tiafoe to make awkward passes which resulted in the loss of the second and third sets. The audience began to celebrate Federer’s consecutive sets, never doubting that a seasoned veteran could lose to an initiate with just seven wins to his name. Tiafoe noticed Federer’s relaxed demeanor and knew an opportunity like this was highly unlikely to repeat. He came into the fourth set determined to obtain redemption. His aggressive plays caught Federer off guard and resulted in several errors, earning Tiafoe one last shot at victory in the fifth set. By then, Federer had adapted to the intensity displayed in the fourth set and began to expose Tiafoe’s weaknesses with low drop shots and charges towards the net. His new play style was reckless and very dangerous, considering Federer, 36, was losing stamina quickly while executing this strategy. But in a match where the unlikely had already occurred twice, Federer couldn’t afford to take a first-round leave from the tournament. Federer had successfully worn out Tiafoe as the game-winning set was decided by three missed swings and a shot into the net. Federer proved he could still make a long run in the tournament after facing one more five-set match and cruising through the third and fourth rounds.

“Federer is my absolute favorite tennis player ever because of his demeanor, play style and skill. So the fact that I had to sit and watch him lose in the US Open quarterfinals after he has played so well this year was really upsetting. However, I still think he’ll have a strong season next year, which I look forward to,” sophomore Chris Brazda said.

Round of 32 – No. 24 Juan Martin del Potro v. No. 6 Dominic Thiem

On Monday, during the fourth round of the United States Open Tennis Championships, Juan Martin del Potro from Argentina and Dominic Thiem from Austria went head to head in a landslide match. Del Potro, also known as “Delpo,” has been reigning as the winner in the entirety of his US Open matches, and has proven his worth in the race to be the champion. Thiem similarly had prevailed in his games prior to being set against Del Potro. The worthy opponents were closely matched, but sheer talent was much less than what was needed to walk out triumphant. Del Potro’s fourth victory was not foreseen, as he had been plagued with the flu and was assumed to be the lesser of the opponents in his condition at the time of the match. The crowd seemed sure of Thiem’s win, as he started off with a strong lead of two sets, with Del Potro quickly falling behind in his wins by vast amounts. However, when Thiem was seen to be guaranteed a win, Del Potro collected himself and turned the tables in their third set of games. In a mere half an hour, Del Potro showed his worth and determination with his staggering forehand swings and ability to catch his opponent off guard with the speed of his shots. He was able to shock the crowd with an amazing score of 6-1. The crowd gained hope for the sick, yet unyielding, Argentinian, who was once destined for failure. This feeling followed throughout the suspenseful championship game and proved to be true. “Delpo” continued to sweep the quick yet nail-biting matches, and brought in his final two victories, with scores of 7-6 and 6-4. Illness may be a deciding factor in a game for some, but Del Potro’s drive let him overcome the former likelihood of a loss.

Pullquote Photo

I’m excited to see Rafael Nadal’s run in the US Open because he is a real fighter under the pressure of the tennis majors due to his spirit and how he doesn’t give up until the very last point of the match.”

— senior Gayathri Samuel

Round of 16 – Denis Shapovalov v. No. 12 Pablo Carreño Busta

Reuters
Pablo Carreño Busta (left) and Denis Shapovalov embrace after Carreño Busta ends Shapovalov’s unprecedented run.

On Sunday, day seven of the US Open, it became clear that talent is on the rise among newer tennis players. One of these upcoming opponents was the young Denis Shapovalov from Canada, who took on the fierce challenger Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain. Shapovalov was a new face for many, and it was originally believed that his time on the court would be brief. He may not have become the victor, but he was able to play an incredible three sets of games that left the skeptical crowd in awe and proved the doubters wrong. His young age and lack of recognition had no effect on his confidence and certainty on the court. He kept Busta on his toes and the crowd on the edge of their seats. He kept the sets going much longer than anticipated, and used his hidden talent to become a nearly matched opponent to the well-known Busta. Although Busta is much older and more experienced than Shapovalov, the latter has much promise and was projected to win by many after bringing Busta to their first tiebreaker. It stimulated conversation and curiosity about the teen, who is the youngest to make it so far in the championship for a few decades. This is positive for the new player, who tried everything in his power to rise above his rival. However, Busta’s consistently wide serves got the best of Shapovalov’s underdeveloped abilities. The five games consisted of 3 tiebreakers, altogether lasting nearly three hours, all of which ultimately went to Busta. This loss should be taken with a grain of salt, though, considering the age and astounding talent that Shapovalov possesses. He is sure to be seen again in the US Open as he becomes more experienced, and his abilities will not be overlooked in the tennis community.

“On the men’s side, it’s been an interesting tournament and the draw is wide open now that there have been a few upsets, leaving the door open for Rafael Nadal or maybe even a Kevin Anderson win, which would be amazing to see since we are so used to seeing the big 4 of Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic dominate these majors,” junior Dylan Carol said.

About the Contributor
Photo of Eric Jimenez
Eric Jimenez, Staff Writer

Senior, Eric Jimenez, in the National Academy of Finance at Coral Gables Senior High, is ready to enjoy his last year in high school by becoming as involved...

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The Smashing Highlights of the 2017 U.S. Open