By: Madison Lewis and Vivian Scimone
Beginning Aug. 31, the greatest tennis players in the world gathered in New York City to compete in the U.S. Open. Coming to a close last week, the 2015 U.S. Open was full of victory and loss, with records made and broken. For those who did not have time to watch every minute of every match, the ECHO has got you covered. Here are the highlights of this year’s Open:
Venus vs. Serena:
The Williams sisters faced off for the first time at the 1998 Australian Open. Since then, the two have faced off 27 times, most recently in the quarterfinals of this year’s U.S. Open. The match began quickly with Serena winning the first set 6-2. Venus fought back and took the second set while dropping only one game. In the third and final set, the two battled ferociously and Serena won the set and the match, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. The final score was 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.
Jamie Loeb Competes in Open:
Jamie Loeb, 20, competed in this year’s U.S. Open. After a series of remarkable collegiate wins, she received one of the eight wild cards for the main draw of the U.S. Open. Putting her junior year at UNC Chapel Hill on hold, she entered the tournament with some of the highest ranked tennis players in the world. She has previously shown her talents, most recently by winning the NCAA singles championship in May. This win was the first national singles championship in UNC women’s tennis history. At this year’s U.S. Open, she played against Caroline Wozniacki, and lost 2-6, 0-6.
Arthur Ashe Stadium:
Since 1997, the Arthur Ashe Stadium has been used as the main U.S. Open stadium. Named after Arthur Ashe, the first winner of the U.S. Open in 1968, it is the largest tennis-specific stadium in the world. This year, the stadium upgraded with a new roof. Expected to be completed for the 2016 Open, the finished roof structure will be added onto the existing stadium. The steel beams that the panels will be set on have been put in place and there has already been a noticeable difference. Having it closed creates a more private atmosphere for both the players and the fans. Many players specifically noted a lack of wind that had always been a challenge for them to deal with. This will lead to an increased level of play, meaning a more entertaining and action-packed match for spectators. The rich history of the stadium as an outdoor arena will still be preserved, even with the roof addition since it will only be used in case of inclement weather.
Mardy Fish’s Last Open:
Mardy Fish, 33, will be retiring from professional tennis after this final U.S. Open. In 2012, after severe cardiac problems, which required a catheter ablation operation to correct misfiring electric pulses in his heart and a subsequent diagnosis of severe anxiety disorder, Fish had to take a break from tennis. Since then, after learning about his disorder and spreading awareness about the illness, Fish returned February 2015 at the Tennis Championship of Dallas and then again on Tour in July 2015 in Atlanta. Once ranked fourteenth in the world (2009), Fish obviously had a successful career. Retiring at 33 is certainly not unheard of in the pro sports world due to the pressure and physical stress that athletes have to deal with.
Nadal and Murray lose in upsets:
Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, ranked eighth and third in the world respectively, lost earlier than expected at the Open this year. For the first time since 2005, Nadal lost in the third round of the U.S. Open. He was defeated by Fabio Fognini, ranked thirty-second in the world, in a difficult five-set match that lasted almost four hours. After losing the first two sets, Fognini was down in the third when he began staging a comeback. He won the next three sets to win the match. Murray lost in an extremely close match in the fourth round to Kevin Anderson, ranked fourteenth in the world. This four-set match had a final score of 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played against each other this year in the U.S. Open final. Djokovic was able to take three out of the four sets, and win the championship. Their rivalry is at the center of tennis’ entertainment. Ranked first and second in the world respectively, Federer and Djokovic have played 42 times. Djokovic’s victory on Sunday tied the series, 21-21. Federer, 34, plays remarkably well for his age. However, Djokovic’s younger age, 28, gives him an edge against Federer. Djokovic’s 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win gave him his second U.S. Open singles title and his tenth Grand Slam singles title.
After defeating Serena Williams, ranked one in the world, Roberta Vinci met Flavia Pennetta in the U.S. Open final. Ranked twenty-second and forty-third in the world respectively, neither of these women were expected to make it to the final. Good friends and former doubles partners, Pennetta and Vinci are both from Italy. A close first set ended in tiebreak with Pennetta winning 7-6 (7-4). She then swept the second set 6-2 to win the championship. This is Pennetta’s first Grand Slam title and also her last, as she announced her retirement almost immediately after the match. Called the one of the unlikeliest U.S. Open champion, Pennetta herself did not expect to win the tournament.