New York will be gripped by a tennis epidemic soon! The last Grand Slam of the year — the US Open — starts from August 26. Over the years, the hard courts of New York have produced some stunning contests. Matches which are remembered even today for the class of tennis they displayed. We take a look at some of these here.
Lendl was chasing his fourth consecutive US Open title. Wilander was fresh from title triumphs in the Australian and French Open earlier that year. Could he stop the Lendl juggernaut?
The match was a master class in conventional tennis. Both players looked to wear each other down. They played out rallies with over 30 shots and multiple deuces. In the final set, however, Wilander played clinically to win his first US Open title.
It was a humongous duel between two phlegmatic personalities. The match lasted 4 hours and 55 minutes to become the longest US Open final ever.
Final score: Mats Wilander won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
A 22-year-old Graf seemed to have the voodoo over 34-year-old Martina. Martina had lost three straight matches to Graf in the last two years before this encounter. Her dipping form saw her seeded at No.6 while Graf was No.1.
The contest was evenly poised after a nail-biting second set. Martina dominated the first five games of the third set to take a 4-1 lead. Then, some unforced errors! Double faulting twice in the sixth game, she lost her serve. Graf was now back into the match.
At 5-4, facing two break points, Martina served grenades! One ace and three big serves later, she had closed out Graf.
Martina had fought it out this time to win the big points whenever they were on the line. In her own words, she ‘just didn't lie down and die the way she used to.’
Final score: Martina Navratilova won 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (6-8), 6-4
It was one of tennis history’s biggest rivalries. They were set to script another stirring episode in their epic saga.
Agassi won the first set before Sampras took the second. Sampras again took the third and looked like taking the fourth to win the match. He had three match points in the tie-breaker in the fourth set. Then, Sampras strangely lost momentum and lost two match points. He finally sealed it when Agassi missed a forehand.
It was a contest between two serving geniuses. Their booming serves were almost unplayable. The match will always be remembered for not having a single break of serve.
Final score: Pete Sampras won 6-7 (7), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5)
As always, it was a see-saw battle between the two champions. Not for nothing did they have an equal share of the spoils in 16 previous duels!
Venus, seeded seventh, led 5-3 in the first set, but Serena snatched the set away after the tie-breaker. In the second set, Venus seemed poised to take the match into the third set at 5-3. But the fourth-seeded Serena had other ideas. She saved three set points and took the set to 6-5 — still in Venus’ favour. She again saved another triple set point to win the second set in the tie-breaker. Overall, she saved 10 set points in the match, including two triple ones in the second set. Serena came back each time Venus pushed her to the wall.
Final score: Serena Williams won 7-6(6), 7-6 (7)
It was a tense game; reminiscent of their semi-final duel in the same tournament in 2010. Like last time, Djokovic rallied after losing the first two sets to force a fifth set. The match was on an even keel now. In the eighth game of the fifth set, Federer broke Djokovic’s serve. Subsequently, he was serving for a double match point and boom! Djokovic unleashed a superb forehand return winner to save it. That shot, hailed by John McEnroe later as "one of the all-time great shots", perhaps, deflated Federer. Djokovic won four games on the trot from there on to seal the match.
Final score: Novak Djokovic won 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5