Amidst a year of challenges, the resumption of tennis seemed a daunting task.
The cavalry that goes with organising tournaments makes tennis a challenging sport to buckle down to one country.
Yet, the US Open played host to some exhilarating tennis over the last two weeks.
It was fourth-time lucky for a resurgent Dominic Thiem who fought back from two sets down to claim his maiden Grand Slam title. Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka was successful in claiming her second US Open crown.
Let’s recap the events of the last two or three weeks.
A tale of comebacks
The women’s final featured a repeat of the preceding Western & Southern Open, won by Victoria Azarenka after Osaka withdrew with an injury.
It was all about resilience this time round as Osaka overcame Azarenka’s power-hitting strokes.
The Belarusian’s extra punch in her shots pushed her to a commanding first set lead (6-1).
However, a mature Osaka clawed her way back to seal the remaining two sets 6-3, 6-3, and secure her third Grand Slam in two years.
On the men’s side, Thiem became the first man in 71 years to win the decider after dropping the opening two sets.
An on-song Zverev dominated the early exchanges with strong serves and chunky forehands.
Thiem and Zverev combined for 120 unforced errors to only 95 winners throughout the match.
In a curious parallel, Zverev balanced his 15 aces with 15 double faults, and Thiem recorded eight in each category.
In a titanic finish, the Austrian fought his way back to a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory for his first Grand Slam title.
An un-eventful end
With an emphatic unbeaten recorded this year, if there was anyone to defeat Novak Djokovic, it had to be himself.
Entering the US Open as the overwhelming favourite, the Serbian was defaulted for striking a line judge – albeit unintentionally – as per the rules.
Debating the outcome proved futile and brought an end to his unbeaten run, assuring a new player aside from the Big 3 would be crowned a Grand Slam champion.
The 33-year-old, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, now turns his attention to the French Open which gets underway next weekend.
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This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry. Cela ova situacija me čini zaista tužnim i praznim. Proverio sam kako se oseća linijski sudija, i prema informacijama koje sam dobio, oseća se dobro, hvala Bogu. Njeno ime ne mogu da otkrijem zbog očuvanja njene privatnosti. Jako mi je žao što sam joj naneo takav stres. Nije bilo namerno. Bilo je pogrešno. Želim da ovo neprijatno iskustvo, diskvalifikaciju sa turnira, pretvorim u važnu životnu lekciju, kako bih nastavio da rastem i razvijam se kao čovek, ali i teniser. Izvinjavam se organizatorima US Opena. Veoma sam zahvalan svom timu i porodici što mi pružaju snažnu podršku, kao i mojim navijačima jer su uvek uz mene. Hvala vam i žao mi je. Bio je ovo težak dan za sve.
The wait for 24 Slams continues
Serena Williams’s quest to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles was brought to a halt at the semi-final stage.
The American has had several chances to claim a Slam since her return, reaching four finals but has lost all four.
The record has eluded her since she returned to action two years, several months after giving birth to daughter Olympia.
Having triumphed at Flushing Meadows on six occasions, it would have been the perfect destination to clinch her slice of history.
The US Open 2020: Mums on tour
With the women’s game being unpredictable and exciting, six of the world’s top 10 decided against travelling to New York for the tournament.
World number one Ashleigh Barty, world number two Simona Halep, defending champion Bianca Andreescu, world number five Elina Svitolina, as well as Belinda Bencic and Kiki Bertens, all opted against travelling to the Big Apple.
The tournament did have its fair share of heartwarming stories and mother-of-one Tsvetana Pironkova reaching the quarterfinal is right up there.
Having player her first tournament in over three years, the Bulgarian defeated two-time Grand Slam winner Garbiñe Muguruza in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.
Nine other players who are also mothers, entered the singles draw, one reached the final (Victoria Azarenka), and one lifted the doubles title (Vera Zvonareva).
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