2019, US Open
US Open, New York
26 August – 8 September, 2019; 128 draw (32 seeds); Surface – Hard
Summaries taken from ATP articles (a little blend with others) with my blue notes…
Final: (2)Rafael Nadal d. (5)Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4
Nadal was a man on a mission in New York. On Sunday, it all culminated with a fourth US Open crown as the Spaniard battled to the title in front of an electric Arthur Ashe Stadium. Nadal outlasted Medvedev in 4 hours and 49 minutes, surviving a stunning comeback by the Russian. He made his opponent work for every point and overcame an aggressive Medvedev in one of the more gripping five-set finals in Grand Slam history. The tension boiled over as the 23-year-old rallied from two sets and a break down to force a decider. But, showing his trademark fight and unrelenting resolve, Nadal fought off his challenger to cross the finish line in thrilling fashion. With his 19th Grand Slam victory, Nadal closes the gap to just one on Roger Federer in the all-time title chase. He also moves to three ahead of Novak Djokovic for solo second place on the list. “This victory is so important for me,” said Nadal as he wiped away tears during the trophy presentation. “Especially as the match became more and more difficult. I was able to hold the nerves. They were so high. It was a crazy match and I’m just very emotional. It was an amazing final. Daniil is only 23-years-old and the way he was able to fight and change the rhythm of the match was amazing. He will have many more opportunities like this.” “The last three hours of the match were very, very intense,” Nadal added. “Very tough mentally and physically, too. The crowd has been as always amazing, all these facts that make the moment super special. It was an unforgettable moment. At the same time Daniil created this moment, too. The way that he fought, the way that he played, he is a champion. Just well done for him. I really believe that he will have many more chances. The way that the match became very dramatic at the end, that makes this day unforgettable, part of my history of this sport. I’m just very happy. This trophy means everything to me today.” Medvedev continued to mount the stunning comeback as the championship clash entered a fourth set. Increasing his aggression by stepping into the court and blasting away on both wings, as well as effectively serve-and-volleying, the fifth seed eventually forced a fifth set. The crowd erupted as he snuck a return winner past Nadal on set point. “Because of the crowd, I was fighting like hell,” said Medvedev. “In the third set, in my mind, I was already thinking what to say in the speech. I was fighting and I didn’t give up, but unfortunately it didn’t go my way.” But it was the Spaniard who would not be denied as the match entered a deciding set. Medvedev did well to break back when Nadal served for the championship at 5:2 and survived a pair of match points a game later. But it was the 33-year-old who would eventually cross the final line, capturing his third match point. Medvedev was bidding to become the first Russian to claim a Grand Slam title since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open and the youngest since a 20-year-old Juan Martin del Potro at the 2009 US Open. He owns a tour-leading 50 match wins this year, capping a stunning summer with a first major final appearance. Also the runner-up in Washington and in Montreal, he claimed his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati last month. “I definitely will remember tonight,” Medvedev added. “I’m sure even talking about Rafa’s 19 Grand Slams, I’m sure he remembers his first final, even though he won it and I lost it. It was an amazing match. It’s an amazing story. All this summer is amazing for me. I will remember every moment of it. I have a really good memory if we talk about tennis. I’ll definitely remember it even when I’m 70 years old.” Stats of the final
2nd semifinal: (2)Rafael Nadal d. (24)Matteo Berrettini 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-1
Three-time champion Nadal on Friday evening set a blockbuster US Open final against No. 5 seed Medvedev in what will be a matchup of two of the hottest hard-court players in the world. Nadal battled past first-time major semi-finalist Berrettini under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. “The first set was a little frustrating because I had a lot of break points before the tie-break and he didn’t have any. In the tie-break I was a little lucky because he had 4:0. But I survived at that moment and I finally got the break in the second and then the match completely changed,” Nadal said during his on-court interview. “I started to play with more calm and be more aggressive. I’m super happy to be back in the final of the US Open.” Medvedev (50) and Nadal (46) lead the ATP Tour in wins this season, and the pair split the two North American summer hard-court ATP Masters 1000 titles. Nadal, who is into his 27th major final, defeated Medvedev to triumph at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, and then the Russian bounced back to lift his first trophy at that level at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. After a double fault from the World No. 2 to start the first-set tie-break, Berrettini threw everything he had at the Spaniard, using his arsenal of weapons from the baseline to take a commanding 4:0 lead. But as always, Nadal battled hard and would not let slip the set without a fight. Berrettini earned two set points at 6:4. On his first opportunity, the Italian clipped the tape on a forehand approach shot, and he hit an ensuing backhand volley into the net. On the next point, Berrettini carved a backhand drop shot into the net. And from there, Nadal raised his defensive walls high, putting ball after ball back into the court until the three-time ATP Tour titlist made two more unforced errors to give the second seed the opener after a physical 73 minutes. “My goal was to win the point of the 4:0 to 4:1 with my serve. Of course with 5:0, another mini break against… it’s done. My goal in that moment is to put the first point on my score and then win one of the next two points on the return at least. Then you are 5:2. You are in a tough situation, but if you are able to win the next two points with your serve, then you are 5:4,” Nadal said. “The opponent still has two serves to win the set. But from 4:0 to 5:4 is a completely different perspective because then the opponent has the pressure, too. That was my goal.”
1st semifinal: (5)Daniil Medvedev d. Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3
Medvedev was one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour entering the US Open, reaching the final in Washington and Montreal before claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Cincinnati. But could he replicate that form in Flushing Meadows? The 23-year-old has made the answer to that question clear. Medvedev defeated 2017 ATP Finals champion Dimitrov 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3 to reach his maiden Grand Slam final. “It’s really tough mentally. That’s what I’ve been missing before. Before, my best Slam result was fourth round. I felt like it’s just so tough to win a five-set match. I knew I was going the right way, I just had to fight for every set, for every point. Didn’t work out before,” Medvedev said. “But here, this week, everything has worked out. I won a lot of four-set matches, which shows how great mentally I was here, and physically, also.” Medvedev joins former World No. 1s Ivan Lendl (1982) and Andre Agassi (1995) as the only players to make the Washington, Canada, Cincinnati and US Open finals in the same season during the Open Era (since 1968). He is now 20-2 during the North American summer swing. “When I came to the USA I didn’t know that it would be this good,” said Medvedev, who has a tour-leading 50 wins in 2019, including 37 on hard courts, in an on-court interview after the match. “I have to say I love [the] USA. I understand that what I’ve done these four weeks is amazing, even comparing to what I’ve done before,” Medvedev said. “I don’t want to stop. I will always work to be better. I will try to do my best every day.” Dimitrov arrived in Flushing Meadows having lost seven of eight matches, including a straight-sets defeat to World No. 405 Kevin King at the BB&T Atlanta Open in July. But the Bulgarian did a complete 360-degree turn in form in New York, advancing to the last four at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the first time. “Good match overall. I think it was just a few points here and there. Three sets to love, but the score for me doesn’t justify the match itself. I think it was a good level,” Dimitrov said. “Overall he played really well, fought hard, a lot of the key points he played well. So… I don’t want to be too down on myself. Great weeks. First time in a semi-final out here. Just going to take a lot of the positives, for sure.” Stats of the match
(5)Daniil Medvedev d. Stan Wawrinka 7-6(6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Medvedev broke No. 23 seed Wawrinka in the first game, but brutal rallies and seven double faults eventually proved to be costly for a player who initially had tape on his right thigh, before having it cut off. Wawrinka got back into the match with a break at 4:5, but Medvedev regrouped and won the first three points of the tie-break courtesy of net approaches and drop shots – far from the 23-year-old’s normal baseline-dominated game. Wawrinka worked his way to 6:5, but with time on a forehand struck it wide. Wawrinka’s inability to gain a foothold or a period of consistency in their second Head2Head meeting gave rise to Medvedev breaking for a 3:1 advantage in the second set. Medvedev began to strike with greater fluency and, coupled with his varied tactics, it forced Wawrinka to respond. Having committed 21 unforced errors in the first set, Medvedev cut it to four in the second set. Wawrinka, who has recovered from 0-2 sets down on six occasions in his career, won eight of the first nine points in the third set. He later overcome four break points when serving for the set in a 12-minute game at 5:3, finally closing out on his third set point to keep alive his hopes. But Medvedev dominated the fourth set as 33-year-old Wawrinka, who’d beaten defending champion Djokovic in the fourth round, experienced a let-down to finish with a total of 38 unforced errors. “I think in general he’s playing really well,” Wawrinka. “He’s really solid. He has a tough game to play. I didn’t start well. I never really found the right rhythm. I wanted to play between staying back and being offensive. I didn’t serve so well… He was there when he need it, and he was the better player today.” Their second meeting, the second at majors, and the Russian prevailed in four sets again.
Grigor Dimitrov d. (2)Roger Federer 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
“I think the past six, seven months have been pretty rough for me. But I had somebody to lean on, my friends, my family. I kept on believing again in the work, the rehab I had to put behind my shoulder, the exercise, the practice, fixing up the racquet a little bit. There were so many things I had to adjust in such a small but big period of time,” Dimitrov said. “Next thing you know, you’re almost [at the] end of the year, you have a result like that. It’s pretty special to me.” At the beginning of the match, it was tough to forecast an upset. The 38-year-old Swiss seemingly set the tone by breaking in his first return game en route to a 3:0 lead. Federer dropped just nine games total in his previous two matches before facing Dimitrov, so it looked like much of the same. But Dimitrov, a first-time US Open quarter-finalist, made his key breakthrough when he broke for 4:2 in the second set. Even though he could not serve out the set at 5:3, returning the break of serve with a double fault into the net, Dimitrov showed that he was very much in the match, and on his first set point Federer mishit a cross-court forehand well wide. Federer broke twice in the third set to capture the momentum. But like in the second set, he was unable to get off to a quick start in the fourth, and that proved costly. After Dimitrov forced a decider, Federer left the court for a medical timeout as the Bulgarian did push-ups on his bench to stay warm. “Just needed to try to loosen it up, crack it and see if it was going to be better,” Federer said. “But this is Grigor’s moment and not my body’s moment, so… it’s okay.” Dimitrov raced to a double break and 4:0 lead in the fifth set as Federer continued to make unforced errors, struggling to find a surge of energy. And finally, after holding to love, Dimitrov put his hands on his head and let out a massive roar after securing the win. Dimitrov’s first win over Federer in their eighth meeting.
(24)Matteo Berrettini d. Gael Monfils 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5)
The No. 24 seed overcame early nerves, and the loss of four match points late in the fifth set of a pulsating encounter, which was packed full of momentum shifts, to edge past No. 13 seed Monfils of France over 3 hours and 56 minutes. Berrettini was left to rue striking a nervous 76 m.p.h. double fault on match point when serving at 5:3, 40/30 in the deciding set (earlier led 5:2). Two points later, with the error weighing heavily on the 23-year-old’s shoulders, Monfils earned the break when Berrettini hit a forehand into the net. At 5-all the Italian escaped a 0/30 deficit. Two further match points went begging at 6:5, with Berrettini striking a running forehand into the net when Monfils was serving at 30/40; then, when Monfils showed no fear at ad-out to force a backhand error. A fourth opportunity at 6:4 in the tie-break was saved, before Berrettini finally completed his 34th match win of 2019 with a powerful (125 mph) service winner matching the feat of compatriot and 1977 semi-finalist Corrado Barazzutti. Berrettini, who lost to Denis Kudla in the 2018 US Open first round, hit 53 winners, including 15 aces past Monfils, who committed 51 unforced errors and struck 17 double faults. That match actually separated them from the last spot in the season-ending tournament in London.
(2)Rafael Nadal d. (20)Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Nadal overcame a spirited effort from the No. 20 seed to win his eighth consecutive quarter-final in Flushing Meadows in what felt like a titanic battle, not a straight-sets win. The legendary lefty earned double-break leads in each of the first two sets, but was unable to hang onto those on either occasion. “He’s one of the best players of the world. When he’s playing well, he’s able to win against everybody,” Nadal said. “Tonight was for me [a] tough match. I’m very happy for the victory.” Nadal sprinted to a 4:0 lead in the opener. But once Schwartzman found his rhythm in the baseline rallies, he was able to engage with the World No. 2. And seemingly out of nowhere, Schwartzman got both breaks back to get to 4-all, earning two break points to give himself a chance to serve for the set. But Nadal hung in there to avoid losing a third consecutive service game, and Schwartzman hit a backhand into the net on set point. Again, Nadal appeared poised to pull away when he bashed a forehand before putting away an overhead off the bounce to break for 3:1 in the second set. Quickly, the 18-time Slam titlist earned another break to move to 5:1. But Schwartzman never went away, making an amazing series of gets at 15/0, finally shoveling a forehand winner down the line before raising both arms to get the crowd involved. In the moment, it seemed like Schwartzman was simply enjoying his time in the world’s biggest tennis stadium. But it showed that he was giving Nadal all he can handle, again recovering both breaks to return to 5-all as chants of ‘Olé’ rang out through the New York night. However, Nadal again was too strong in crunch time, hammering a forehand down the line to earn two set points, and converting the second of those when Schwartzman missed a forehand into the net. Nadal received a visit from the trainer at 2:1 in the third set, getting his forearm rubbed for what he later said was a cramp. But the Spaniard won the final four games of the match, punctuating his triumph with a big roar.