Sep/17

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Congratulations to All US Open 2017 Champions

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By Scoop Malinowski

Another edition of America’s biggest sporting event, The US Open, is in the books, and this year’s tournament once again delivered tennis genius, history, magic and so much more.

Rafael Nadal won his 16th major title today with a dominant straight set win versus major final debutante Kevin Anderson who shocked the entire tennis world by winning six matches at a major, by far the best result of the 31 year old’s career. Nadal looked arguably as good as ever this fortnight, serving well and crushing the ball with jarring accuracy off both wings. And his volleys, according to Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee, look superior to Roger Federer’s. Nadal has now built a sizable gap between himself and Federer and looks solid to finish the year as the ATP World No. 1 again for the first time in four years (2013).

Sloane Stephens fulfilled her early career promise, sparked by a dramatic win versus Serena Williams several years ago and stalled by years of dispirited performances and a bad foot injury last year, bombarded Madison Keys yesterday in the women’s final 63 60. I still remember sitting on the seven train with Sloane, her mom and former coach Roger Smith about seven years ago, with the shy American not speaking a single word while listening to her earphones. With her bright smile, charming personality and inspiring comeback story, Stevens will be speaking a lot of words to the media in the coming years as she will surely add more major titles to this US Open championship.

Martin Hingis and Leticia Chan were dominant all fortnight, winning their seventh title of the year and first Grand Slam title together since joining forces in the beginning of the year. For Hingis, her total tally is now 25 major titles, for Chan it’s her very first, after losing in four previous Grand Slam finals.

Hingis also collected the mixed doubles title with Jamie Murray on Friday, escaping with a narrow 10-8 in the third set triumph over Chan’s sister Angel and French Open doubles champion Michael Venus of New Zealand.

The men’s doubles title was won by Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau who defeated the Spanish Lopez duo of Marc and Feliciano who won Roland Garros together in 2016.

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37 comments

  • dan markowitz · September 11, 2017 at 6:09 am

    How about Anisimova schooling Gauff in girls singles finals, like 2 and love? Gruff is something though, 13 and like 5-8. She’s a potential great player as is Ansimova. Disappointing finals. I couldn’t even watch more than a few games of Nadal-Anderson. After a somewhat tight first set, the match was never in doubt. This men’s tourney was marred by the draw where Anderson reached the finals by beating Qball and Carreno-Busta. I’m sorry, Anderson played well, but when you beat that duo to get to any slam finals, you have had a very easy draw.

    The women’s tourney was compelling, but again when the finals score is 3 and love, that’s not great drama. And the pink elephant in Arthur Ashe Stadium was could these young American women beat Serena? Sloane’s most difficult and challenging match was against Venus and we know Venus is a major step down from Serena.

    As for the American men, with the exception of Qball, it was another disappointing slam. Sock and Steve Johnson continue to play below form. Harrison got a tough draw with Berdych, but he has not picked up his level. The trio of Tiafoe, Fritz and JD all showed glimpses, but were all out early. The 2018 US Open could very well prove very different for both the American woemen and men, especially if Serena somehow makes a great comeback and if one of the 20-something men asserts themselves.

  • Chazz · September 11, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Dan, Nadal’s path was just as easy. This was the first time since seeding expanded to 32 in 2002 that the winner hasn’t faced a top 20 seed. I picked Nadal to win it before all the withdrawals though. He was on a mission to match Fed’s Slam titles this year. With how far Nadal stood behind the baseline on returns, Anderson could have done something a bit unconventional like hit a short serve to keep him honest. Instead he just hammered his serves with no change of pace.

    The women’s final was equally disappointing because Keys played so poorly. Not sure I have ever seen such a poor showing in a final. I don’t think it was all because of the injury either. She has the game to win Slams in the future though.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2017 at 9:34 am

    And a Chinese kid Yibing Wu won the boys title by beating no. 1 seed Axel Geller. US girls won three of the four junior slams this year. And two more were finalists I believe. The matches of the tournament for me were Delp vs Thiem, Delpo vs Fed, Hsieh/Niculescu vs Babos/Hlavackova, Daniel vs Paul, Ozaki vs Lao 76 in third saving three mps. Those first week first round classics often seem to get forgotten. As do some of the classic quali battles.

  • catherine · September 11, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Scoop – I agree about first week matches – some which turn out to have had a great bearing on what happened after are forgotten in the focus on the later rounds and not written about. Understandable perhaps but luckily Youtube is often there to remind us (if we look hard enough).

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Catherine; Mahut’s tournament is also forgotten. He qualified with a three set win vs Tsitsipas in the final round of Qs and then beat Fucsovics 76 in the fifth set and then beat Vinolas Ramos 75 in the fifth set before losing to Carreno Busta in the third round.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Interesting that Tsitsipas was mentioned. He just won his first Challenger title, in Genoa. That meant 2 youngsters had good weeks, with Felix winning his 2nd Challenger, in Seville. Stefanos is now No. 120 and Felix, exactly 2 years younger, is No. 168. The future looks bright for both players.

  • jg · September 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Scoop, there is a video of Bradenton on CNN, damage not as great as feared.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks jg. Best of all the feared “storm surge” of 5-8 feet did not smash into the coastline areas. No word on flooding in Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria or Longboat Key areas but friends there say we somehow dodged a bullet.

  • catherine · September 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Scoop –
    Re tennis coverage (and Mahut matches) – I used to think the best way to cover tennis is through a final tournament piece when the action’s all finished and you can find a narrative thread, or several threads and tie them all up. Of course this is ok for a magazine but obviously not for newspaper and online day by day reporting.
    Maybe I still think it’s the best way. Then some of those ‘forgotten’ matches can be revived and put in perspective of the larger picture.

  • dan markowitz · September 11, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Mahut was special in this event. And I fear with the first round in the qualis exit of both Stakhovsky and Groth, and the second round loss of Dustin Brown, we’re starting to see the complete dissolution of serve and volley players. Of course, M Zverev did well, but he’s the only one of that ilk who did do well.

    I even watched Daniel Nguyen in his first round Qualis loss to Darius King and Nguyen used to be a kamikaze attack the net player, but against King he rarely if ever came up to net. I’m hoping Tiafoe with his great speed or Fritz with his length and big game will come up to the net more. Shapovolov likes to mix it up. How about Felix? Does he come up to the net much?

  • catherine · September 11, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I saw a bit of the Girls’ final at USO between two much heralded players and didn’t spot any adventures to the net. Seems like the women’s game is well settled into its style for the future too unless someone unusual comes along.

  • jg · September 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    I didn’t see a better match than Tsitspas Mahut in the 3rd round of qualifying, especially with Mahut’s son cheering courtside. If Anderson had half of Mahut’s volleying skills, the final may have been different, Anderson looked like a deer in headlights up there.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    The men’s field was too watered down and many straightforward matches like PCB over Shapo and Nadal over Rublev in the latter stages. The Fed-DelPo match was OK.

    I can’t just the men’s tournament on a match like MZverev-Kwiatkowski or Monfils-Young.

    Women’s field had great matches early like Simona-Shazza, Shelby Rogers-Gavrilova and Jen Brady 3-setters. The latter stages were a dud and an awful final and SF. Venus-Kvitova may have been the best match.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Duke, Fed vs Delpo live in side Ashe was thrilling to see. Super high quality tennis. Yes this year’s men’s draw was weakened by all the seed pullouts but the usual suspects did not seize the opportunity – Berdych, Gasquet, Monfils, Cilic, Goffin, Isner came up short, credit to PCB, Rublev and Anderson who should go on to bigger and better results.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    To answer the question about Felix, he does come to the net, especially to finish off points. Not a lot because the opponents try to keep guys stuck at the baseline, but he does come in when has a chance and has a decent volley. He is very quick on the court, so that helps.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 11, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Sharapova’s book comments on Serena have surfaced. She said she tried not to get close to a young Serena as a young player for an emotional edge. Then SW was reportedly crying after that Wimbledon loss and Maria said ever since then, Serena has been out to destroy her on the court. Shazza also says she is just plain intimidated by Serena. As if we didn’t know that. Oddly enough, she says she should be friends with her since they have much in common.

    Fair and honest comments IMO. At the same time, is anyone on tour friends with her? That says a lot IMO.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Somewhat interesting revelations by Sharapova here. Serena will not like these personal details being publicized. Hopefully their rivalry will gather some more stormy back and forths. Kind of tired of all the nice talk and Keys-Sloane type friendships. Tennis needs more feuds and ego clashes. Seles vs Graf was the last great WTA rivarlry. I highly doublt Maria has a single friend on the tour though I’m pretty sure when she was younger she was friendly with Kirilenko and Ivanovic.

  • catherine · September 12, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Scoop-
    I read some of that stuff last week and I have to say I agree with you – Maria and Serena could never be friends, there’s too much between them. And Maria has seen Serena in her weakest moments and very often that’s something which causes lasting resentment in people, particularly for someone as proud as Serena – who’s also been put on a pedestal for so long. Maria understands Serena, or part of her. That’s a no-no too. It’s just a pity their rivalry on court has been so one-sided.

    I was also put off by all the slush over Sloane/Madison. It was just sentimental and girlish. I assume a lot was made of that angle because the match itself was such rubbish. Hacks had to write about something.

    I don’t want to see players tearing each others’ hair out but I’d like more honesty and less WTA PR crafted niceness. We all know life’s very seldom like that in a tough competitive sport. Maria’s going to get dumped on in the US for her comments but so what ? Serena’s no saint.

  • Hartt · September 12, 2017 at 7:21 am

    I don’t know if they are friends with Sharapova, but a couple Russian players, Kuznetsova and Vesnina, have come to her defense. I can understand why players don’t want to be close friends with their opponents, but why be especially standoffish? By players’accounts Maria does not even speak to people in the locker room.

    And although real friendship must be tough, it is fun when it does occur. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov are a good example. Denis stays at Felix’s parents’ home when in Montreal, and did so even during the Rogers Cup. Both guys talk about their close friendship but say that they are fierce rivals, and constantly push the other to do better. I love the way that Denis, even with his new-found fame, is quick to praise Felix in public.

  • catherine · September 12, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Harrt – Maria has often said her real friends are outside the sport and I don’t see anything wrong with that. We’re not in the locker room ourselves and we don’t really know how people behave there – maybe Maria just doesn’t feel sociable with everyone, maybe she just says hello and goodbye and doesn’t go in for casual chat. Some might accept her attitude but others could feel affronted.
    Happens in work situations too, in my experience.

    Felix and Dennis are young, boys really, and the seem to have a kind of boyish friendship. That may change as they get older and other interests divide them – I’m sure they’ll stay friends but not in quite the same way.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 12, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Hard to see Maria or Serena ever extending the olive branch but who knows, you never know. It could help their images some day if they do. Graf and Seles never seemed to do it. Mac and Connors or Lendl? I don’t think so either. The spirit of tennis is to bring different people together and so many others have done it, sometimes surprisingly, like the Pak-Indi Express. Pete Sampras was a pretty aloof player who did not seek friendships, one player told me he and Pete and two other players played 18 holes of golf and Pete did not say one word to anyone for the entire 18 holes! I know Rios was anti social in his beginning years as a pro, no contact with any players. And he became no 1 in the world with this mindset. So both ways to work.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 12, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Hartt; We will see when Shap and Felix play their first major final how they interact after if one gains a career edge. Courier and Sampras were fairly close until they became rivals for majors then they kept a distance. I saw it at the US Open cafeteria, both were seated at tables adjacent, Pete was with his girlfriend and Courier was playing cards with other players, no contact at all between the two. I watched curious to see if they acknowledged each other but nope. This was earlier to mid 90s.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Right. Maria is no different than Graf and Sampras. Nothing wrong with that. And yes, Serena is no saint either.

    Remember Sampras feuding with Pat Rafter? Great stuff.

    I think the Keys-Stephens angle was because the match sucked. Also Keys apparently did go celebrate with Sloane. It was like Vinci-Pennetta except that those two knew they would never reach that stage again. Here its different and I expect their friendship to change now that Sloane is the champion if Keys is the type of competitor I suspect she is.

  • catherine · September 12, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Sloane sounds remarkably satisfied with her game at the age of what – 24, 25 ? Doesn’t think she has to change anything. Not an approach I’ve heard expressed from past (and present) champions. And does she think her competition is blind ?

    One thing Sloane can start changing is her serve. Her second was creeping over the net at around 50+ mph.

  • catherine · September 13, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Sloane jinxed – on the cover of SI :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 13, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Wonder if Coco would have been on the SI cover if she won?

  • catherine · September 13, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Ha ha Scoop I think not :)

    But neither would any non-American have been. US tennis is just dying for the next Serena.

    We’ll see how Sloane copes with the attention. She might want all this to happen again and she’ll find next time it’ll be harder.

    BTW I noticed Pliskova got a bit of stick for saying she didn’t care about being No 1, that it was no different than No 2 in practice. Actually I think that’s a good balanced attitude to have – she doesn’t want that weight on her shoulders. She saw what happened to Angie.

  • Hartt · September 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Sloane’s coach said they won’t be changing the basic approach to her game but they will be working on some aspects. He sounds like a coach who demands 100% effort, so I imagine Sloane will be working hard.

  • catherine · September 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Hartt – yes, I probably read the same article and Sloane’s coach seems to have the right ideas. I’m just wondering what effect all the publicity etc will have on her.
    I’m not sure why I feel so lukewarm about Sloane – she’s a talented player but I just can’t get behind her style. Maybe it’ll grow on me.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Sloane can dominate. She can very well develop a hunger for more major titles and the attention that goes with it. This monumental win could spark something and make her into a super champion. It took a long time for Sloane to put it all together, much like Federer, Djokovic and Murray. I can see Sloane becoming a major icon in America, she is grounded and matured now and ready to dominate. I think she has the potential and the game to do it.

  • Hartt · September 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I think Sloane has been through one time of adulation, after she beat Serena at the AO and made the SF. She handled that very poorly. I remember one article in particular where the writer spent considerable time with her and Sloane was incredibly immature, even knowing her actions would be reported. Now she is older and has gone through the tough time of the injury and 11 months off the court. I imagine she will handle things much better this time around. If nothing else, she now knows that the media can praise you one minute and heartily criticize you the next.

    I was not a fan of Sloane because of her lack of effort in some matches and her frequent silliness off the court. But it looks like she really has dedicated herself to the sport and plays with commitment and grit. And in interviews she has been lively and witty but not silly. I am more than happy to root for her now (as long as she keeps this up).

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Hartt; Do you remember how immature Agassi Rios McEnroe Capriati and Federer were in their early pro days? It’s not easy to grow from being a teenager to adult with the world and media watching you. It’s all in the past now, Sloane Stephens is a grand slam champion and very likely a future Hall of Famer.

  • Hartt · September 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Daniel Nestor, who recently turned 45, announced he will retire after next summer’s Rogers Cup, which will be his 30th time playing in that tourney. He said he may also play in the USO. He has talked about possibly retiring for a while now, so it was not a big surprise. His tennis resume is amazing, including winning 8 Slams in men’s doubles and 4 in mixed, plus an Olympic gold medal. He has won all the Masters tourneys in doubles at least once and he was the first player in ATP history to record 1,000 career doubles victories.

    He has been a stalwart of Canada’s Davis Cup team and will play in his 51st tie this weekend. DC Captain Marty Laurendeau said they call Nestor “The Chief.” Danny has also represented Canada in 6 Olympics!

    I hope he receives the recognition he so richly deserves for such an incredible career. Somehow Canadian tennis won’t be the same without him.

  • scoopmalinowski · September 13, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Nestor has had a hall of fame career but he has not won a match in over two months. He may not win one again. Terrible slump. Might be lucky to last on tour another yr.

  • Hartt · September 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    I think he wants to play at the Rogers Cup for a 30th time. Obviously they will give him a WC if he needs one. I don’t know how much he will play between now and then, his relatively low ranking could make it difficult to get into some tourneys. He said he is anxious to spend more time with his daughters who are 8 and 4.

    As you say, he has a Hall of Fame career, so he has nothing left to prove and at 45 it is amazing he is still on the tour.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    30 appearances at one tournament. Unbreakable record.

  • Duke Carnoustie · September 14, 2017 at 1:59 am

    Wondering whether Coco would be on the cover of SI is like wondering whether I would be. It’s a hypothetical that will never happen because neither one of us will ever be U.S. Open singles champion.

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