The US Open was held first in 1881. However, it was not until 1887 that women were allowed to participate. From 1887 till date barring an 11-year spell from 1891 to 1901, the event has always been decided in a best of three-set format. From 1891 to 1901, women were required to compete in 5 sets just like Men. The US Open is the only Grand Slam today which uses a tie-break system to decide the winner in cases where the match does go all the way.
The only Grand Slam to have been played on 3 different surfaces (1887 to 1974 on grass, 1975 to 1977 on clay, 1978 - present on hard courts), the US Open was also the first Grand Slam to offer equal prize money to women competitors vis-a-vis Men players. All other Grand Slams followed suit much later. The only woman to have won the US Open on 2 different surfaces is Chris Evert. Evert won the title on all the 3 years that the tournament was played on clay. She later would go on to win 3 more titles on the hard courts of New York.
In the Open Era, Chris Evert and Serena Williams hold the record for the most US Open titles won with 6 a piece. Players belonging to 17 different countries have won the tournament.
Our focus here is on 4 great players who deserved a US Open crown but fell short of winning one :
#1 Mary Pierce
Canadian born French woman Mary Pierce is the last women's player from France to have won the French Open title. She did so in the year 2000. Prior to that, her performance at a Grand Slam was winning the Australian Open in 1995 following which she rose to a career-high ranking of World Number 3. In her best years, Pierce never made it past the 4th round at Flushing Meadows. In the fag end of her career at the age of 30, Pierce hit a purple patch as she made the finals at Roland Garros and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon Singles' for the first time in 10 years and won the Mixed Doubles title at the same competition.
Carrying the same form, Pierce went into the US Open seeded 12th. She had a remarkable run to the final beating higher ranked players like Justine-Henin, Amelie Mauresmo and Elena Dementieva en-route. She however finished runner-up to Kim Clijsters. Battling injuries, Pierce retired from professional tennis the following year.