Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal won this year’s women’s and men’s tournaments at the US Open after victories over Maddison Keys and Kevin Anderson respectively at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The final of the big-four tennis grand slam competitions ended with a faultless performance from Spanish player Nadal. He took an seemingly easy win, which lasted only 2 hours and 24 minutes.
The previous day, Stephens, entering the competition unseeded, took only an hour to overcome Keys, again in a straight sets battle. This gave Stephens the first grand slam title of her career.
Nadal put in a near perfect performance to secure the 16th grand slam title of his career. From the first point his game plan was clear to see as he used pure power and strength to show dominance over his opponent, and it certainly worked. Anderson made 11 unforced errors and won only 10 games in the course of the match. It seemed that the pressure of his first major final was too much for the 31-year-old to handle.
“There is no better way to finish the grand slam season after a very emotional season” – Rafael nadal
Nadal, who is making an impressive return to the sport since injury left him without a single grand slam win after the 2014 French Open, only lost 15 points to Anderson.
On his way to the final, Nadal lost only 3 sets in the entire tournament. His simplest win, arguably, came in the quarter final against Andrew Rublev, the right-handed Russian. He lost only 5 games in this straight set win, before moving on to Juan-Martin del Potro for the semi final. He lost the first set, before taking just 1 hour and 31 minutes to overcome the Argentine, who hasn’t made it to a US open final since his only win in 2009.
Nadal stated that “there is no better way to finish the Grand Slam season […] after a very emotional season” for himself. This emotion was, undoubtably, caused by securing his 10th French Open title a few months previous. This was his first title after facing injuries which nearly saw an end to his career.
“I should just retire now. It doesn’t get better than this” – Sloane stephens
In a similarly simple fashion American young-gun Sloane Stephens also won her match in straight sets, taking her first ever grand slam title in the process. Stephens only lost 3 games to her fellow American, Madison Keys, who was competing in her first grand slam final.
Stephens’ win is made only more impressive by the fact that, earlier in the year, she was confined to a wheel chair after surgery to her foot. This injury left her out of the sport for 11 months and caused her world ranking to drop down to number 957.
Her journey to the final saw Stephens lose only 4 sets across the whole tournament. Her quarter final against Anastaija Sevastova, the 27 year old Latvian, ended in a tie breaker. The final set in her semi final against Venus Williams was, arguably, her trickiest win, and lasted 73 minutes.
Stephens told close friend Keys she felt she [Stephens] “should just retire now” as it doesn’t “get better than this”, considering her sudden return to form since her worrying injury. The pair shared an emotional hug at the net as the match ended, as the magnitude of their first grand slam final became clear for spectators to see.
The tennis season comes to an unofficial end in London for the ATP World Tour Finals in London on the 12th-19th of November.
–Charlotte Andrews, Correspondent (Sport)
(-Picture, Wally Gobetz)