The 2020 US Open: A Title Up for Grabs

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Dawn Hudson; Licensed for public use

Like many other events, this year’s Grand Slam had to be restructured due to COVID-19.

Maria Odio, Staff Writer

Since 1881, the United States Open has been known as one of the greatest championships in the sport of tennis. Usually, this Grand Slam tournament is open to fans who want to get a closer look at their favorite players. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, fans are unable to attend the event in person this year, forcing them to settle with watching it at home. Reigning champions Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Elina Svitolina announced that they will not be playing in this US Open due to previously acquired injuries and concerns for their wellbeing. While many fans are disappointed that they will not get to see some of their favorite players, this season still got off to a strong start and has plenty to offer.

Kicking off this tournament with a strong lead, 23 Grand Slam Single title holder and number eight in the world is Serena Williams who advanced all the way to the Semi-finals with only dropping 3 sets. Her Semi-finals opponent, Victoria Azarenka only dropped 2 sets out of her 5 rounds.
“My favorite players are Serena Williams and Roger Federer. I am happy Serena was able to make it to the US Open and that Federer is taking his time to get better since his knee injury,” freshman Rosibel Garcia said.

Top seed Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic faced Caroline Garcia in the second round. As the number three women’s tennis player, Pliskova was expected to win but Garcia won the first set and the round 2 tiebreaker at 1-6, 6-7. Later on, Garcia moved onto round three against America’s Jennifer Brady, who won the match. Currently, Brady has been playing an outstanding performance, answering every challenge thrown her way and only dropping one set which qualified her for the Semi-finals against number nine, Noami Osaka.

On Sep. 11 at 7:00 p.m., J. Brady and N. Osaka went head-to-head in the 2-hour long semi-final. This game was made of power and grace and with aggressive plays from both opponents. The first set went into a tiebreaker which Osaka won with seven points. After that set, the pressure started to rise between the two players. In the second set, Brady won the match 3-6. The winner of the third set would move onto the finale, and with a score of 6-3 in the third set, Osaka won the semi-finals. Later on in the night, S. Williams went up against V. Azarenka. Williams blew away Azarenka in the first set with a score of 6-1 but in the second set, Avarenka was given a chance to make an immense comeback and she did not disappoint. In the third set, Williams injured her left Achilles and had to make a medical timeout, this gave Azarenka the window to win the semi-finals and move onto the final.

The day after the Semi-finals Osak and Azarenka went head to head in the finals to win a Grand Slam title and a three million dollar cash prize. The tournament started off with the first set going to Azarenka 6-1. However, Osaka made one of the biggest comebacks in the second set and third set, declaring Osaka the US Open 2020 Women’s Singles Champion. It has been over two decades since a female player who lost the first set won this tournament.

On the men’s side of the tournament, there were impressive and disappointing performances from both rising stars and Grand Slam winners. Starting off with this tournament’s biggest shock, number one player and top seed Novak Djokovic was defaulted in the fourth-round after he hit a ball at a line judge. While it is not known if Djokovic’s opponent, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, would have beaten him, Busta has been making the most out of this opportunity. He played two five-set matches and only dropped four sets, allowing him a spot in the Semi-finals. He went head-to-head against a player who quickly rose in the tennis ranks all the way to number seven in the world and number five seed, Alexander Zverev. Blank won the match and landed themself a shot at the three million dollar prize.

“I was upset when they disqualified him (Novak Djokovic). I mean it was an accident made in frustration”

— freshman Gabriela Blanco

Rising star Alex de Minaur had a clean performance for someone who only has five years of experience in pro tennis. While Minaur showed he can go up against top talent, he was sadly defeated in the quarterfinals by the second seed and number three, Dominic Thiem from Austria. He had a remarkable performance by losing one set out of fourteen, landing him a spot in the semi-finals against number five, Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev has had a clean sweep so far, winning every single set up for his trip to the Quarter-finals.

On Sep. 11, P. Busta and A. Zerev also fought for a spot in the final. This was a five-set, three and a half-hour long match. Busta started off by winning the first two sets, all he needed was one more and he would move onto the final. However, the fifth seed, Zerev, made an amazing comeback and won the next three matches 6-3, 6-4 and 6-3. The last time a player managed to do this was in 2011 when Djokovic went against Roger Federer. Later on, Medvedev went against Thiem in a three-set match. In the first set, Theim won the match 6-2. The next two sets ended up being a close call between both players. However, Theim won both tiebreakers in the sets and will be going up against Zerev in the Final.

US Open 2020 Men’s Singles was a four hour, five-set match. Zerev and Thiem have previously gone up against each other in the Australian Open 2020 Semi-finals. After two gruesome sets won by Zverev, Theim started to pull back some points. After a couple of deuces and two sets, Zverev and Theim were tied in sets meaning the winner of the fifth round would be declared the champion of the tournament. Both players pushed themselves all the way to a fifth-set tiebreaker and after 14 rounds of the tiebreaker, Theim received his first Grand Slam title.

While this Grand Slam competition has crowned its victors, Noami Osaka and Dominic Theim, this 2020 tennis season is not finished yet. There is still an abundance of games and matchups to look forward to throughout the course of the year, including the French Open 2020 which will occur from Sep. 21 all the way to Oct. 11, 2020 which should satisfy tennis lovers across the country.