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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

US Open blog: A fitting finale

















In a tournament of upsets, it seems rather fitting that two players unfancied for the US Open title would come away as 2009 champions.
With the top four in the men's game so far ahead of the rest of the world, it was the sixth seed who upset all expectations to claim the crown.
The young Juan Martin del Potro has shot up the rankings in this past year, but with variable results at Grand Slam events – including a semi-final at Roland Garros and a second round at Wimbledon – very few believed he would be holding the trophy.
Beating Roger Federer for the first time in seven matches will be another boost to the powerful Argentine, and surely his confidence can only soar.
He has to be careful not to get too carried away.
After winning the 2008 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic has done little of note, and fans will be expecting much of the new US Open champion.
No Slam
A disappointing tournament it was for Andy Murray, who is now the only player in the top five not to have won a Grand Slam.
His confidence must be down, especially with yet another young rival claiming victory.
Federer can be happy with his tournament, reaching yet another final, but will also be gloomy after missing his sixth-straight crown.
As both Nadal and Djokovic reached their predicted stage – and due to Murray's early failure – the Spaniard has regained his ranking as the second best player in the world.
Elsewhere, Murray's nemesis Marin Cilic may have produced his breakthrough performance, and the Croat should progress further.
The fairytale that was Kim Clijsters captured the hearts of the New York crowds, and against all the odds – only playing in her third tournament and as a wildcard – she came away the Queen of Queens.
There was no doubt she would beat Caroline Wozniacki.
Beautiful
The Dane is a beautiful player with a solid game, but the script had been written.
In the best Grand Slam final of recent years, Clijsters won with a scoreline that slightly flattered the Belgian.
It was a hard-fought match, and new world number six Wozniacki gave an excellent account of herself in her first major final.
Clijsters is now in the top 20. How far can she go? It is feasible she could reach the top of the game by this time next year.
And Wozniacki could be there fighting for that position with her, if she takes the deserved confidence from this.
The Russians had a terrible tournament, and it looks like their reign as the dominant force is coming to an end. It’s the turn of the small European countries once again.
Melanie Oudin was the other story at Flushing Meadows, with an immense performance. Keep your eyes on her. She could be America's salvation once the power of the Williams sisters starts to wane.
Without a doubt, this tournament belonged to Clijsters. It would be little surprise if many others went this way too.

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