Andreescu and Nadal crowned champions in 2019 US Open

Beast120815 | FLICKR

Beast120815 | FLICKR

Diana Shishkina

The U.S. Open tennis championships, the last major tennis tournament and final Grand Slam event of the year, wrapped up its run on the weekend of Sept. 7. 

A common occurrence, this year’s U.S. Open was able to highlight the strength of both veteran champions in tennis and fresh-faced newcomers, who dominated the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens for the very first time.

Each of the final doubles matches were decided in just two sets — Colombians Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal won the men’s doubles final, while Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Elise Mertens of Belgium were the women’s doubles champions, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray, of the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively, took home the mixed doubles trophy.

The singles finals for both the men and women were exciting displays of showmanship and skill. The match between Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, and the match between American Serena Williams and Canadian Bianca Andreescu offered fans both powerful triumphs, stunning upsets and competitive matches that were hard to predict the outcome of until the very last match point.

On the men’s side, Nadal and Medvedev kept tennis aficionados glued to their screens for nearly five hours, as their game was finally decided in the fifth set, one of only nine U.S. Open championship matches in history that went on for that long. 

Nadal is no stranger to the court or the fans, as the fan-favorite was competing in his 27th Grand Slam final, and looking to clinch his 19th Grand Slam title, which would put him at just one title below current Grand Slam record-holder Roger Federer.

On the other side of the court, Medvedev was appearing in his first major Grand Slam final, but he currently sits at fourth place in the men’s world tennis rankings — just two spots below Nadal. 

Medvedev already made headlines earlier during the U.S. Open, but not for good reason. His temper came to the forefront, as he earned a code violation for snatching
a towel from a ball person and angrily throwing it down onto the court. 

His response was flashing a middle finger at the crowd, much to the dismay of officials who later saw it on their screens.

All of the drama flew out the window during the final match on Sept. 8, however, and both players looked equally strong on the court. 

Nadal brought home the first two sets, at 7-5 and 6-3, respectively. 

Medvedev then clinched the next two sets, 5-7 and 4-6, that led the men to play the tie-breaking fifth set. 

The match was dominated by break points — Nadal had 21 and six breaks in total and Medvedev had 15 and five breaks in total — and Nadal’s volleys at the net, which allowed Medvedev to get some shots past the Spaniard, but also allowed Nadal to control the game all the way through the final set. Medvedev showed strength in his powerful, quick serves, a noticeable difference to Nadal’s more relaxed, slow approach for which he was almost penalized for. 

At the end of the day, however, Nadal demonstrated why he was in the top three of tennis, and won the set with a score of 6-4, beating an opponent 10 years younger than him to clinch the U.S. Open men’s title.

The women’s match also came down to a well-known tennis veteran playing against a young rookie who made headlines this season. 

Williams was also going into this match chasing a title that would tie her with Australian Margaret Court, who currently holds the record number of Grand Slam wins, which is 24. 

Williams has had a rougher year than usual in tennis, as she has lost all of the other Grand Slam games this year since returning from maternity leave, and has been criticized by many for being too outspoken and hotheaded, with many pointing to the incident that happened at the 2018 U.S. Open. 

Williams clashed with tennis umpire Carlos Ramos when he penalized her for supposedly communicating with her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, while playing on the court.

Andreescu, meanwhile, has made headlines for beating out several top players, such as Belinda Bencic and Caroline Wozniacki, to earn a spot in her first major final, while being only 19 years old. 

The women’s final match was decided in two sets in the early evening of Sept. 7. 

Both Andreescu and Williams came out strong from the start, but the young Canadian seemed slicker  and more dominant on the court. 

Andreescu won the first set, 6-3, and looked as if she was going to win the second set early on, serving and breaking her way to a score of 5-1. 

However, Williams proved why she was one of the best tennis players in history, fighting back with aces, breaks and strong forehands to eventually tie the game at 5-5. 

Williams was no match for the rookie, however, as Andreescu gathered her energy to win two more games, ending the set with a score of 7-5 to officially claim her first Grand Slam victory and jump to fifth place in the women’s world tennis rankings.

The 2019 U.S. Open championships proved that the sport of tennis offers both hope for redemption and the chance to break through the ranks. 

Once riddled with injuries and failing to advance to several Grand Slam finals that he used to dominate, Nadal showed that he is still one of the greatest players of this generation. 

Meanwhile, Andreescu showed that in just one year, it is possible to go from being a top 250 seed and relatively unknown to going shot-for-shot with some of the most consistent players this sport has ever seen.