By Ella Fenwick | Sport Editor
After an intense two weeks of battling on the court, the US Open 2020 drew to a close on September 13 and the new champions have been crowned. With many doubting the standards of how the two-week competition would pan out due to the new format in place because of the Coronavirus outbreak and with some of the biggest names in tennis not competing, the US Open had a rocky start. Over the two weeks this all changed and it was safe to say that the tournament outlived many expectations and despite a pandemic the tennis world was left thriving.
Women’s Singles Final
On September 12, it was made very clear that the young rising stars of women’s tennis are ready to overtake some of the most well-established tennis players in the game. When Japan’s 22-year old Naomi Osaka walked onto the court ready to face Belarusian Victoria Azarento. With both players already boasting two Grand Slam titles, a lot was on the line for both these players to walk away as the champion.
Azarento started the match strong winning a very one-sided first set against Osaka. This only encouraged Osaka to ramp up the pace and intensity of the match, stealing grasps of a win away from Azarento. As Osaka took her second match point, it was obvious the young player was overwhelmed by another win of the US Open final.
At only the age of 22, Osaka not only won her third Grand Slam title but she decided to take the opportunity to use her platform at the US Open, to protest against racial injustice. In the semi-finals Osaka pulled out in protest of the shooting of African American Jacob Blake by Wisconsin police, pausing the entire competition. She continued to work as an activist throughout the tournament, wearing a face mask before and after every match featuring the names of African American individuals that had been killed by police brutality in the United States. Other players also used their voices and platform to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement while competing at the US Open, which included US players Sloane Stephens and Frances Tiafoe.
Men’s Singles Final
When it came to the men’s singles final on September 13, it was not the usual line-up that was expected, with 2019 champion Rafael Nadal and the well-known Roger Federer absent from the closed-door competition. As well as the early expulsion of Novak Djokovic on day seven for hitting a line judge with a ball in his match. With the “Big Three” all missing from this major final, the opportunity of a new name to appear on the trophy was up for grabs.
In this occasion, it was to be a head to head battle for Austrian, Dominic Thiem against fellow German opponent, Alexander Zverev in his first major final. It was clear to see throughout the match both these players had their eyes on winning their first Grand Slam titles. The first two sets of the match were dominated by a confident Zverev. However, a quick turnaround was made when Thiem stormed the match, winning the remaining sets and stealing the title chance away from Zverev. Leaving Thiem not only as the US Open 2020 Champion but also with his first Grand Slam title.
Despite the loss by Zverev, he has not let this affect his confidence and plans on winning the next Grand Slam title. With the French Open 2020 around the corner ready to commence on September 27, it will be exciting to see who will be battling it out on the court this time and whether the “Big Three” will be back in action.
Walking away from the US Open with heads held high, Osaka boasted yet another Grand Slam title in her collection and Thiem achieved his first. Despite the circumstances, the US Open exhibited yet another year of raw talent in the tennis world, and it will be exciting to see where the rise of these new star players will take it.