The Reuters global sports blog
A star is born at the U.S. Open
By Greg Rusedski
This year’s U.S. Open was about two former champions retiring, an up and coming new star in the women’s game and two great champions.
Kim Clijsters the former world number one and three time U.S. Open champion announced her retirement before the event started. Many people were hoping she would have a great run. Kim lost in the second round to Laura Robson from Britain who, at 18 years of age, was yet to live up to her hype and potential. This was a massive breakthrough for Laura to beat Kim. The entire tennis community was very sad to see Clijsters lose but she showed great sportsmanship in defeat as always. She handled her loss with great dignity and class; Kim will be truly missed from the game of tennis.
On the other hand a new star was making her big breakthrough. Could Laura Robson continue her run against world number 8 Li Na? Laura went on to beat Li Na in 3 sets to make the 4th round to play the defending Champion Sam Stosur. Laura lost in 2 very tight sets and now appears to be fulfilling her potential. In 18 months from now the big serving lefty from Great Britain will be in the top 10 in the world if she keeps improving and stays healthy. A new star is born in the woman’s game!
On the men’s side Andy Roddick, the last American man to win the U.S. Open in 2003, announced his retirement on his 30th birthday. Would this inspire him to have a great run? It did just that… Roddick played well until he came up against Juan Martin Del Potro in the 4th round. Del Potro was just too good for Roddick. It was a near perfect ending to Andy’s career going out on Arthur Ashe stadium where his greatest moment of his career happened. Andy will be truly missed from tennis having been the stalwart for American tennis for the last decade.
The men’s championships went to plan until the quarter-finals where Roger Federer, my favorite to win the tournament and world number 1, lost to the Czech Tomas Berdych in four sets. Roger was hampered going into his quarter-final match with Berdych when he got a walkover from Mardy Fish in the 4th round. This meant he had nearly five days off in between matches and lost his rhythm.
Berdych took full advantage to book his place with Andy Murray in the semi-finals. The British number one, Andy Murray, has been in great form and was many people’s pick to win his first major title after claiming Olympic Gold this summer. Their semi-final was played in 25 mph winds which favored Murray who is a great wind player. Andy won in 4 sets to make his 2nd US Open final and 2nd grand slam final in a row.
In the other semi-final Novak Djokovic beat David Ferrer over 2 days in 4 sets to make his 4th US Open final. Novak was fortunate not to finish his semi-final in the 25 mile an hour winds because of a tornado warning. Djokovic is not a great wind player because he doesn’t have the best hands. He then came out on Sunday to win, which meant that for the 5th year in a row there would be a Monday final. In my opinion, the USTA needs to build a roof; the US Open is now the only grand slam without a roof or plans to build one.
Andy Murray played the match of his life to win his first major against Novak Djokovic in one of the greatest US Open finals of all time. Andy truly deserved to win because his temperament and aggressive play at vital moments were the key. He has now ended Britain’s 76 year wait for a men’s grand slam champion. Murray is replicating his coach Ivan Lendl by winning his first major in his fifth final. Will he emulate Lendl and go on to win eight majors and become world number one? He has a great chance to do so and he could possibly finish the season number one.
In the women’s final Serena Williams defeated world number one, Victoria Azarenka. It is the first time in 17 years that the final has gone the distance. Azarenka served for the match at 5-3 up and from there Serena lifted her game as a champion does to win four games in a row to win 7-5 in the final set. Serena has now won 15 majors and if she can keep focused she will be back to number one in the world very soon. On the positives for Azarenka she looks like a real threat to Serena and they could create a great rivalry which the women’s game most definitely needs.