2015 U.S. Tennis Open: The Ups and Downs

Brigit McDannell '18Sports Editor For many professional tennis players, the late months of summer are the most important of their careers. Following months of training, practice and anticipation, Aug. 31 – Sept. 13 marked the 135th U.S. Open and the fourth and final Grand Slam Tournament of the year. The monumental event took place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City – one of the largest stadiums in the world – whose outcome took fans by surprise. Serena Williams, took a massive hit in her career, losing the semifinals to Italian Roberta Vinci, who was not even seeded at the tournament. Prior to her loss, Williams had won all of her 26 Grand Slam matches. However, in the 27th match, Williams lost both her athletic prowess and confidence. Vinci, a 32-year-old who is currently ranked no. 19 in the world and is best known for her doubles work, stunned spectators and fans when she beat Williams in a very strange match. Vinci beat Williams 2-6 6-4 6-4, quashing America’s chances of completing a calendar year of grand slams. Not only did Vinci beat the Olympic athlete, she also won with a 2-0 deficit in the third set. Prior to Vinci’s victory, she had lost all four of the practice matches. During Williams’ press conference after her defeat, she was quiet, abrupt and clearly not interested in discussing the loss further. “I don’t think I played that bad,” Williams told reporters. “I made more unforced errors than I normally would, but I think she just played really well. She did not want to lose today, and neither did I, incidentally. But she really didn’t either.” This was an ugly match for both women, and it was riddled with errors, slow reaction time, bad shot selection and crucial double faults. With Williams defeated, Vinci went on to play fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta. Vinci lost to Pennetta in a close match, resulting in 6-2 7-6. This was the first time in U.S. Open history where two Italians played each other for the finalist seed. Pennetta, who is currently ranked no. 7 in the world, later announced that she was retiring from professional sports after her U.S. Open win. On Sept. 13, men’s singles finalists Novak Djokovic (no. 1) and Rodger Federer (no. 2) played a heated match resulting in a win for Djokovic, 6-5 6-6 to Federer’s 4-7 4-4. Federer advanced to the men’s singles finalist seed without the loss of a single set. But it was the steady Djokovic, holding his arms aloft in conquest, who brought them down just long enough to win him the trophy with a strong final shot. Djokovic is now a two-time U.S. Open men’s singles champion, a three-time Major champion in 2015 and a 10-time Grand Slam champion.