US Open 2017: Reviewed Hollywood style

Ritesh Misra Roar Guru

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    Roger Federer, of Switzerland, in a fourth-round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber, of Germany, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

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    US Open, the last major of the year is one of the oldest tournaments of history. What started in 1881 as the US National Championship is now an incredible 136 years old and still going strong. 

    Since the US Open is in USA and so is Hollywood, here is my review of the 2017 edition from a Hollywood perspective.

    Casting changes
    Two-time Champion Novak Djokovic, defending champion Stan Wawrinka, former champion Andy Murray and former finalist Kei Nishikori were top ten players who did not figure in the draw. However their absence was not majorly felt with sterling performances seen from others.

    Intrigue and conspiracy
    Sentimental favourites Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer were world number one and three, however only five ATP points separated Federer from number two Murray.

    Since the US Open organisers consistently seed players as per rankings, Federer was seeded three and Murray was second seed. That meant a 50 per cent chance that Rafa and Fed would meet in the semis and the draw turned out that way only. Ironically, Murray then pulled out and Rafa-Fed fans were livid that the chance of these two Greats of meeting in the final was sabotaged by Murray.

    In Murray’s defence he tried to be fully fit and when he finally knew he was not fit enough to win the tournament, he opted out.

    Further there was no guarantee that Federer and Murray will actually both reach the semifinals or if they had been drawn on opposite side, the finals. Ultimately they didn’t of course. While finally it was inconsequential it made for interesting discussion. 

    Suspense and romance
    In their incredible rivalry, Federer and Nadal had never ever met at the US Open. The prospect of their meeting up in the semi-finals for first time ever here was romantic and to add suspense to romance, the winner would be crowned world number one. 

    To meet up they would have to win five matches each. Would they? The suspense continued with Federer just managing to win his first two matches in tough five setters.

    Rafa though was winning comfortably. They won two each, then three each, then four each. Then Rafa won his quarter final. Out of the requirement of 10 matches, nine was done.

    Surely Federer would win his, but no. He lost his quarter final to the Argentine giant Juan Martin Del Potro and that meant their meet-up at US Open would remain in the future, perhaps never.

    Mother of all comebacks, sequels and bromance
    Del Potro had won the 2009 US Open by defeating both Federer and Nadal, an extremely rare feat which only Djokovic had done as well. Del Potro who has battled injury issues for several years had a chance to be the first man to do this twice when he defeated Federer in the quarter final and took a one-set lead versus Rafa.

    However Rafa comfortably won the next three to put an end to the hope of the gentle giant.

    In the fourth round, Del Potro was recovering from viral fever and quickly lost two sets to Thiem 1-6, 2-6. He later said he considered quitting during the second set. However he somehow stayed on and in an incredible comeback (one of the best in recent times) he won in five sets. Along the journey he saved two match points with aces. 

    David winning versus Goliath, and emergence of new talents
    This was a recurring feature of the 2017 US Open. Lesser-ranked players defeated their higher ranked higher favoured opponents.

    Prominent success stories of the tournament 
    The tiny 5’7 Diego Schwartzmann defeated former Champion Cilic and also another top player Lucas Pouille to enter the quarters.

    Qualifier Denis Shapopalov captured the imagination of the crowd, especially with his win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 18-year-old teen finally lost in straight sets to Pablo Busta in the fourth round, but with all the three sets going to tiebreaks, he will have hopes for the future.

    Ranked 200 a few months back, he is poised to enter the top 50 of the rankings. 

    Russian Andrey Rublev also shone, reaching the quarter finals where he lost to Nadal. During his journey he toppled among others the seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov and the ninth seed David Goffin both in straight sets. He too is a star of the future. 

    Busta reaching the semi-finals and Kevin Anderson reaching the finals were major success stories as well.

    Nice guys finish first
    Nadal had an amazing tournament. He lost just three sets in his seven matches, but at no point of time he looked like losing a match.

    By winning the US Open in 2017, Rafa has won his 16th major.