The US Open – the 4th and final Grand Slam of a calendar year – is one of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament. Unlike the Plexicushion hard courts in Australia, clay in France or the grass in Wimbledon, US Open is played on acrylic hard courts at Flushing Meadows in New York. The US Open also has the distinction of being the most attended Grand Slam. The defending champions are Novak Djokovic (men’s) and Flavia Pennetta (women’s).
Incidentally, US Open is the only Grand Slam which employs a tie-breaker in the final set of a match. That is, if the 5th set (or the 3rd in case of women) of a match is tied 6-6, the tie-breaker comes into play. In the rest of the 3 Grand Slams, you need to play until you win by a margin of 2 games (12-10 etc) in the final set.
Many of the sport’s greatest have sealed their legacies with spectacular US Open campaigns. As such, the Flushing Meadows has witnessed many spectacular battles between the best.
The 2016 US Open, which begins on 29th August, is almost upon us and we take a look at some of the best finals in the history of the tournament (Open era). We have considered factors like the enormity of the result, the drama of the contest and star power of the contestants.
5) 2009 Men’s final – Roger Federer vs Juan Martin Del Potro
Coming into this match, there was a lot at stake for Roger Federer. Not only was he chasing a historic 6th straight US Open, he was also aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver to win a Grand Slams on clay, grass and hard courts in a calendar year.
Standing in his path was a 21-year-old first-time finalist in Juan Martin Del Potro. Federer, then World No.1, began the final in imperious form and took the first set 6-3. But Del Potro doggedly held on in the 2nd to push it to the tie-breaker and level the match. A surprised Federer restored normal service by capitalising on a break to go ahead, only to be pegged back again in the tie-breaker by Del Potro.
While most expected the 5-time defending champion to blow Del Potro away in the final set, the Argentine had other plans. He displayed nerves of steel as a stunned Federer was beaten 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. Del Potro had become the first Argentine to win a Grand Slam and in the process defeated one of the best ever to grace the game.