The 2017 US Open took place from August 22 to September 10 in Flushing Meadows, New York City. On the Men’s side, the tennis tournament was characterized by the emergence of younger, lower ranked players who were able to advance into the further rounds of the tournament. Meanwhile, on the Women’s side, the tournament was dominated by four American players: Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe, Madison Keys, and Venus Williams, all of whom reached the semifinals, marking the first time in 36 years that all of the US Open Women’s semifinalists were American.
Rafael Nadal claimed his sixteenth Grand Slam title and third US Open title when he defeated Kevin Anderson in three straight sets in the Men’s Final. Nadal had a very favorable draw, with the highest ranked player he faced being only twenty-fourth seed in Juan Martin Del Potro, his semifinals opponent. However, Nadal still faced trouble in the early rounds of the tournament. In the first round, Taro Daniel, an American-born Japanese player, won the first set against Nadal by firing winners off both his forehand and backhand. However, the experienced Grand Slam champion Nadal outlasted the young Daniel and went on to win the match in four sets.
The next major opponent Nadal faced was the aforementioned Del Potro, who had defeated one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Roger Federer, in the quarterfinals. Del Potro used his tall stature for huge serves and powerful forehands to win the first set against Nadal. However, the veteran Spaniard battled back against Del Potro, and with his high level of consistency and intensity won the match in four sets to reach his fourth US Open Final.
In the final, Nadal faced Kevin Anderson from South Africa. This was Anderson’s first Grand Slam final, and he relied on his big serve and powerful ground strokes in an attempt to win the match. However, Anderson’s game was no match for Nadal’s, and Nadal won the match with relative ease to win the tournament.
Overall, on the men’s side, the tournament was less interesting when compared to previous years, primarily because five of the top ten Men’s players did not participate in the tournament. Another narrative from the tournament was the affirmation of Rafael Nadal’s dominance after a series of injuries and early losses in Grand Slam tournaments that had led some to question his ability. Instead, Nadal shut down all criticism and cemented his legacy next to Roger Federer as one of the best tennis players of all time. With sixteen Grand Slam titles, Rafael Nadal is edging ever closer to the record of Roger Federer’s nineteen Grand Slam titles, and will very likely surpass him in the near future. As of now, Nadal is the dominating figure in men’s tennis.
On the women’s side, unranked Sloane Stephens won the tournament after missing eleven months of the professional tour because of a stress fracture in her foot. Stephens faced numerous highly ranked players in the tournament (including ninth-ranked Venus Williams and eleventh-ranked Cibulkova) and endured many obstacles in the first few rounds. In the first round, Stephens played Cibulkova and won in three sets. In the semifinals, Stephens faced Venus Williams, the two-time US Open Grand Slam champion, and in a very contentious and close match, Stephens’ consistency and speed enabled her to win the match in three sets. In the finals, Stephens faced another young American, Madison Keys. Keys never appeared to be fully invested in the match, and Stephens won the final in two sets with relative ease and efficiency.
Stephens won her first Grand Slam ever and is now considered one of the major forces in the women’s professional tennis tour. Furthermore, Stephens’ win was significant as it marked the first time since 2002 that a US Women’s tennis player not named “Williams” won a Grand Slam tennis tournament. By winning, Sloane Stephens opened the door for a future generation of great American tennis players, both men and women, and demonstrated that she has a very bright future. Overall, the 2017 US Open showcased the current generation of great men’s and women’s tennis players, and cemented Rafael Nadal as one of the greatest of all time while also launching Sloane Stephens into the spotlight.