Two great, different winners at the 2015 U.S. Open

By Jacob G.

The 2015 U.S. Open was back at Flushing Meadows, NY and failed to disappoint. 128 competitors entered from both the Men and Women’s singles side and after hours of tennis, there were two winners who couldn’t be more unlike each other. Their names are Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

World number one, Novak Djokovic, had already won 2/3 of the majors this year but was hungry for the last one of the year. In the first round, Novak defeated Joao Souza of Brazil, with three consecutive 6-1 sets to move on to Round 2, where he swept Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer for another 3-0 win, and moved on to Round 3 (but before he did that, he danced on the court following the match with a fan.) There he played a tougher competitor: 25th seeded Andreas Seppi, and even though he won in three sets, they went a little longer, winning two sets 7-5. The 4th round got even tougher for the The Joker, as he won his next game in four sets against Roberto Bautista Agut. Djokovic said this about his match: “I’m satisfied, but you can always do better. We’re all perfectionists in a way. We see certain things we could have done better.” In the quarterfinals, he played his second-consecutive opponent from Spain, and that came with another 4-set win, and with that win, he advanced to his 9th semifinal in a row. The semifinal was fantastic for Djokovic, as he defeated the 2014 champion, Marin Cilic of Croatia, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, as he easily advanced to the final. Djoker couldn’t have had a harder opponent in the final, 2nd seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland, who had already won 5 U.S. Open Titles and 18 Grand Slams over the course of his career, which is the most all-time. Djokovic took the first set 6-4, but was knotted at 1-1, after Fed. took the next set 7-5, but Djokovic showed why he’s the world number won by taking the next two sets 6-4. With the win, Djokovic captured his 2nd career U.S. Open title, and 10th Grand Slam of his career, now tied with Bill Tilden for 7th most all-time. Djokovic had already won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and lost in the final of the French Open, and said this about his year,

“It’s been an incredible season. It’s more than I could ask for.”

The question going into this event was: “Can Serena Williams complete the season slam for the first time since Steffi Graf in 1988?” The answer to the question sadly for American fans is “no”, because it was the Italians, specifically Flavia Pennetta, who stole the show. In the first round, the 26th ranked player in the world took on Australian Jarmila Gajdosova, winning in three sets 6-1 3-6 6-1. In the next round, she took on Monica Niclescu of Romania, winning in two sets. The next match went the distance for Flavia, as she won 6-1 1-6 6-4, against Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic. In the 4th round, Pennetta finally played a seeded player, Samantha Stosur of Australia, but easily beat her in two sets of 6-4. The quarterfinal matchup for Pennetta was even harder, as she took on 5th-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, but she wasn’t unfazed winning in three sets. This would be her first Grand Slam semi-final in her career, as she faced 2nd-seeded Simona Halep of Romania, but easily beat her in two sets. In the other semi-final, fellow Italian Roberta Vinci pulled out the biggest upset of the year, beating Serena Williams in three sets. The stage was set for an all-Italian final, the first time ever in U.S. Open history. Flavia would be the winner, winning 7-6, 6-2. With the tournament win, she became the highest seed ever to win the U.S. Open. The 33-year old also pulled out another surprise- to retire from tennis at the end of the season: “So this is the perfect moment. “It was a really hard decision to make, but I’m happy that I did it. I’m really happy and proud of myself.” With the win, Pennetta became the highest seed to win the U.S. Open, while her match against Vinci was the first all-Italian final in the history of the tournament.

The comparison on the two tennis players is ridiculous. Novak Djokovic is in the prime of his career while Flavia Pennetta just retired. Djokovic was ranked number one in the world, while Flavia was ranked 26th. Djokovic faced off against a number two seed in the final, while Pennetta played against the 43rd ranked Vinci. Although there are many differences, we can conclude that these are two great European competitors playing some great tennis at the only major tournament in the United States.

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Novak Djokovic                                   Flavia Pennetta

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