The 2019 US Open came to a dramatic and exciting end this past weekend and the final grand slam of the season provided all the drama, excitement, twists and turns that we have come to expect from this roller coaster tennis season.
On the ATP side of the tournament Rafael Nadal prevented one of the most remarkable comebacks in tennis history to win his 19th career Grand Slam title, and his fourth US Open crown. After nearly five hours of drama in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Spaniard survived an inspired effort from Russian No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev, 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, in the 2019 men's singles final.
After leading by two sets and a break, Nadal found himself facing three break points in his opening service game of the deciding set. He saved all three, then edged back in front—this time for good—when a backhand winner punctuated a 28-ball rally on break point for 3-2. The tension persisted until the last ball, as Nadal saved a break point in his final service game.
As Nadal found championship form on Sunday, Medvedev, known for his on- and off-court smarts, had plenty of answers in the face of the ultimate examination.
"The way you are playing is a big joke," an endearing Medvedev told Nadal during the trophy ceremony. "It's very tough to play against you."
The old guard held firm in this matchup. The champion, Nadal, was the oldest men's finalist since Federer (34) in 2015. Medvedev was the youngest since Novak Djokovic (23) in 2010. Djokovic met the same fate as the Russian in that match, losing to Nadal. The Big 3 has now swept the last three years' worth of majors, winning all 12 since the start of 2017. Medvedev nearly became the first man to win a US Open final from two sets down since 1949, when Pancho Gonzales defeated Ted Schroeder at what was then called the U.S. Nationals. By staving off Medvedev's comeback attempt, Nadal improves to 209-1 lifetime in Grand Slam matches in which he won the opening two sets. The lone defeat came against Fabio Fognini at the 2015 US Open.
To see the highlights of the men’s final click on the video below.
On the women’s side Nineteen-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu sealed her first Grand Slam title on Saturday, downing 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the 2019 US Open women's singles final, 6-3, 7-5.
The teenager from Mississauga, Ontario, becomes the first Canadian woman to win a Slam singles title in the Open era, and joins Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty as first-time Slam winners in their maiden final appearance over the past 12 months.
"I was feeling many, many things before the match, more than any other match. In the finals, playing Serena. I just tried to breathe as much as I could from the moment I woke up until the match. I tried to just do that throughout the whole match, to just keep my nerves in place," Andreescu said. "It wasn't easy at all, but I think that's what I've been doing really well throughout this whole year."
Having never before been past the second round of a Slam, Andreescu etches her name in the history books in just her fourth main-draw appearance, and her US Open main-draw debut. She joins Monica Seles in that exclusive club, having been just the sixth woman to reach a major final in four main-draw appearances or less. Born nine months after Williams won her first Grand Slam singles title at the 1999 US Open, Andreescu will now soar into the WTA's Top 5. Her new ranking of No. 5, when the updated rankings are released on Monday, will equal the highest ranking ever achieved by a Canadian woman. The Open trophy is her third title of the season, in addition to Indian Wells and Toronto, and all three events are among the biggest events that the WTA has to offer. Andreescu is the sixth woman all-time to win Indian Wells and then win the US Open, following in Naomi Osaka, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles' footsteps dating back to 1992.
To see the highlights of the women’s final click on the video below.
A remarkable end to a fantastic 3-week tournament and lots still to talk about as we head into the end of the year and the final tennis to be played of 2019. Both the men’s and women’s side of the tournament had signs of the old establishment of tennis performing to their expected level while also highlighting the future of the game and what is inventively to come for the future grand slam champions.
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