It was an action packed fortnight of tennis at Flushing Meadows. There were some tired players, big upsets, two new champions and perhaps a changing of the guard in the women’s game. The US Open once again delivered some high quality tennis and two great finals.
Angelique Kerber continued her dream run this season by adding the US Open title to the Australian Open title she claimed in January. Her two career major titles have both come in 2016 and she deservedly capped off what has been a great season by taking the number 1 ranking.
Stan Wawrinka showed his nerves of steel right when it mattered at the end of a grand slam with an inspired victory over world number 1 Novak Djokovic. Wawrinka has now won 11 straight tour finals and amazingly is just a Wimbledon title away from claiming the career slam. Stan continues his undefeated record in major finals and showed that he definitely belongs at the last match of a major.
Stan Wawrinka – It’s hard to go past the winner of the men’s title. He had some quality opponents to overcome including Verdasco, Del Potro, Nishikori and of course Djokovic. The more that Stan produces performances like this, the more I believe the ‘Big 4’ should be changed to the ‘Big 5’.
Juan Martín del Potro – A great effort by the big Argentine in just his second grand slam appearance in almost 3 years. The 2009 Champion came into the tournament as a wildcard and accounted for some quality players with relative ease only to be defeated by the eventual Champion. He will only get better once he has more confidence in his body. After Olympic Silver and now a quarterfinal appearance, it’s fair to say he’s back.
Karolína Plíšková – Had never progressed beyond the 3rd round of a major prior to this year’s tournament. Not only did she surpass her previous best, but she did so with a spectacular run to the final. Pushed Kerber to 3 sets but just fell short.
Caroline Wozniacki – The former world number 1 has battled with injures and consistency over the past few seasons but produced her best grand slam performance in 2 years by reaching the semis. She should take a lot of confidence from her run this year and I expect her to jump up the rankings in the next 6 months.
Milos Raonic – A very disappointing second round exit after making the final at Wimbledon just two months ago. Appeared to struggle in the heat raising question marks over his fitness. Expected a much better showing from him and he perhaps has a bit of work to between now and future majors.
Richard Gasquet – Was comprehensively thrashed in the first round by unseeded Brit Kyle Edmund. In fairness to Gasquet, he probably wasn’t going to be a contender this year but I expected much better than an exit on the first day of the tournament.
Bernard Tomic – Lost in the first round to 72nd ranked Damir Džumhur. Whilst the loss was disappointing in itself, it was how he lost, particularly in the 4th set tie-break. Still has a bit of work to do to consistently match it with the top 10.
Garbiñe Muguruza – Now the second major tournament in a row that Muguruza has exited early. She has failed to back up her French Open triumph from June this year. Looks to be far too inconsistent at the moment to challenge the top competitors.
Sam Stosur – Was the 16th seed coming into a tournament that she is a former champion of and made a disappointing second round exit. This is her second consecutive early exit at a major since her impressive run at the French Open earlier this year.
Where to Next…
Players head into the final phase of the season which is predominately indoors. Tournaments move onto Asia then into the European indoor season. The top male players will be fighting for crucial late-season points to qualify for the world tour finals in London. The ladies will be in a similar boat with the top 8 qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore.
We are also at the pointy end of both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup. The Davis Cup semi-finals take place this weekend with Great Britain playing host Argentina while France travel to Croatia. In the women’s game, the Czech Republic takes on France in the Fed Cup final in November.