10 unforgettable moments from the 2019 US Open

leyeaduloju in Uncategorized 25 Mar 2020
Photo: PA Sport

From an epic men’s final to the heart-warming exchange between Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka, we relive the best moments from the 2019 US Open.

There’s plenty of uncertainty around the exact dates of the 2020 US Open, especially now that the French Open has been rescheduled to begin just one week after the proposed conclusion of the US Open.

That will be settled in due course, but for now, why don’t we go back a few months and look back at what made the 2019 tournament so special.


Townsend upsets Halep in Round 2

Taylor Townsend caused arguably the biggest upset in 2019 US Open when she took out fourth seed and two-time major champion, Simona Halep in the second round.

Townsend was an excellent junior, reaching No. 1 in 2012, the same year she won the Australian Open junior title, but she struggled in her transition into the main tour. The American reached the third round in her maiden Grand Slam main draw appearance at Roland Garros in 2014, but she did not cross the second round again until her victory over Halep at the 2019 US Open.

Taylor Townsend (PA Sport)

Playing a brave brand of serve-and-volley tennis, Townsend came to the net a staggering 106 times againsr Halep, and won 60% of points in the forecourt. The 23-year-old recovered from a set down to pull off a 6-2 3-6 7-6 victory, and advance to the third round. She defeated Sorana Cirstea in her next match before falling to eventual champion, Bianca Andreescu in the Round of 16.


Wawrinka signs autograph on fan’s head

Fans present all sorts of objects to players for autographs- shirts, hats, magazines, jotters, and so on- but one fan found a new way to get an autograph when he offered his head to Swiss, Stan Wawrinka.

Wawrinka obliged to the weird request, planting his signature on the excited fan’s head.


Serena blitzes Sharapova again

A year after her infamous meltdown in the US Open final against Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams made the perfect return to Flushing Meadows with a crushing 6-1 6-1 first-round victory over long-time rival, Maria Sharapova.

Williams dominated this match-up between two of the biggest personalities in the sport, romping to a ruthless victory over the Russian in just under an hour.

Williams scored her 19th straight victory over Sharapova (PA Sport)

Given the long history between the two players, a Williams-Sharapova clash always generates plenty of anticipation, but in truth, this stopped being a sporting rivalry a long time ago, with Serena winning 18 consecutive matches heading into last year’s first round clash at Flushing Meadows.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion emphasized her dominance with another crushing win over her Russian foe last fall. It was a statement start from Serena, who went on to reach the final. Unfortunately, her bid for a record-equaling 24th major title was yet again stopped in the championship match, as she fell to Bianca Andreescu.


Berrettini overcomes Monfils to reach maiden major semi-final

Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian man to reach the US Open semi-finals over four decades with a thrilling five-set victory over Gael Monfils in a gripping quarter final.

Matteo Berrettini after his victory over Monfild (PA Sport)

Nervous and out-of-sorts in the opening phase of the contest, Berrettini trailed by a set and a break, and had to save a break point to avoid going down a double break in the second set, but the Italian suddenly found inspiration, using his serve and devastating forehand to turn the match on its head.

The match see-sawed into a final set, where Berrettini opened up a 5-2 lead, but he double-faulted on match point while serving for the match at 5-3 before being broken, and missed two more match points when Monfils served at 5-6.

Undeterred, Berrettini made a positive start in the tie break, and held his nerve in the end to score a memorable win on his fifth match point.


Resurgent Dimitrov takes out Federer in five

Prior to the 2019 US Open, Grigor Dimitrov had been out of sorts, and had drifted out of the world’s top-70, but the former world No. 3 revived his career with a semi-final run at the US Open, which included a superb five-set victory over great Swiss, Roger Federer in the quarter finals.

Grigor Dimitrov (PA Sport)

Dimitrov had been to two previous major semi-finals, but the most recent was at the 2017 Australian Open, and he had significantly lost his way since he finished that season at No. 3 in the world.

The Bulgarian rediscovered some form at Flushing Meadows last year, fighting back from two sets to one down to take down Federer. His tournament ended in the next round, where he was beaten by Daniil Medvedev in the last four.


Medvedev’s love-hate-love relationship with the New York crowd

There were many player-fan interractions at the 2019 US Open, but none was more intense that Daniil Medvedev’s relationship with the New York crowd. The relationship alternated between love and hate, before settling on love by the end of the tournament.

Not everyone gets away with taking on the New York crowd, but Medvedev’s daring non-challance to animosity and strangely charming personality, let alone tennis talents, eventually won the crowd over- most of them anyway!

Nadal consoles a young fan

Rafael Nadal is arguably the most intense player on court, but away from the heat of battle, he is a gentle soul with a very kind heart.

There was another evidence of that at last year’s US Open, when the great Spaniard took all of his time to console a crying kid. Nadal was signing autographs when he noticed the young fan in the crowd, prevented from accessing his idol by other eager fans.

Nadal reached out to the child, lifted him from the crowd, consoled him and signed his hat.

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Never fear, Rafa’s here! ☺️

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Osaka-Gauff exchange

Defending champion, Naomi Osaka’s third round meeting with rising star, Coco Gauff was hugely anticipated, but the match turned into a bit of an anticlimax, with Osaka rolling to a 6-3 6-0.

However, the post match exchange between the two young women turned into one of the most memorable exchanges not just at the tournament, but in the entire year.

Moved by Gauff’s obvious disappointment, Osaka asked the American young gun to join her in the on-court post-match interview. Gauff was initially reluctant to join in, as it would take the shine off her opponent, but she was eventually convinced, and both players shared a heart-warming moment together.


Andreescu stuns Serena to claim maiden major title

Bianca Andreescu overcame a late wobble to pull off a terrific 6-3 7-6 victory over Serena Williams, and claim her first major title at Flushing Meadows last year.

Bianca Andreescu (PA Sport)

Playing with great poise and confidence, Andreescu raced out to a 6-3 5-1 victory over Williams, but her legendary opponent reeled off four games in a row to even the second set at 5-5.

A lesser player might have crumbled under the heat of a Williams fightback and the raucous New York crowd, but Andreescu kept her composure brilliantly, winning the next two games to add a first Grand Slam title to her collection in a remarkable 2019.

For Williams, a fourth consecutive major final defeat left her stuck on 23 major titles, one behind Margaret Court’s all-time record.


Nadal battles past Medvedev in epic men’s final

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev delivered a US Open final for the ages, as both men battled for five sets and almost five hours before Nadal emerged with his fourth US Open title.

The final threatened to become a procession when Nadal led by two sets and a break, but Medvedev launched an inspired fightback to drag the match into a final set, and was arguably the better player and had all the momentum as the match entered a dramatic decider.

Nadal, still reeling from the sharp turnaround, was on the ropes at the start of the fifth set, but he dug himself out of trouble, saving three break points to avoid going down 2-0. The Spaniard made the most of that escape, raising his game and pulling away to a 5-2 double break lead.

Medvedev wasn’t done. The Russian got one of the breaks back, and had another break point as Nadal served for the match a second time, but the relieved Spaniard survived to claim a memorable win, and claim his 19th major title.

Rafael Nadal (PA Sport)