By E.J. Crawford
The US Open Series annually features five weeks of the best hard-court tennis in the world. Read below to see how the Series unfolds week by week in 2017.
Week 5: Connecticut Open & Winston-Salem Open
Roberto Bautista Agut and Daria Gavrilova closed out the 2017 US Open Series with landmark victories, claiming the singles titles at the Winston-Salem Open and Connecticut Open, respectively.
For Bautista Agut, the victory avenged his loss in last year’s Winston-Salem Open final, to countryman Pablo Carreno Busta, and marked his first title on U.S. soil. The Connecticut Open win was even more meaningful for Gavrilova, who captured her first-ever WTA title in New Haven.
The top seed in North Carolina, Bautista Agut was never really tested en route to his sixth career crown. He did not drop a set in five matches, with his 6-2, 7-6 quarterfinal victory over Taylor Fritz and his 6-4, 6-4 win over Damir Dzumhur in the final registering as his closest calls.
Gavrilova survived a difficult draw on the road to her maiden crown. The Australian squeaked out a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Kristyna Pliskova in the first round, then ousted Timea Babos and Kirsten Flipkens to reach the semifinals. There, she topped defending champion and top seed Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the final, where she outlasted second seed Dominika Cibulkova, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in a match that lasted nearly three hours.
In doubles, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau topped Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos, 6-3, 6-4, for the Winston-Salem Crown, and Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan won the title in New Haven, edging the Australian pair of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua in a match tiebreak, 3-6, 6-3, [10-8].
Week 4: Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open has two first-time winners. And the US Open has two bona fide title contenders.
Garbiñe Muguruza and Grigor Dimitrov won the Cincinnati singles titles in impressive fashion, Muguruza denying Simona Halep the No. 1 ranking – and the top seed at the US Open – with a dominant 6-1, 6-0 victory in the women’s final, and Dimitrov completing a perfect week with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Nick Kyrgios in the men’s title match.
The victories marked the first-ever titles on U.S. soil for the two winners, both of whom will enter Flushing Meadows on the short list of championship contenders.
Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion, is arguably the hottest player on tour following her run to the Cincinnati title. In addition to her victory over Halep in the final, the Spaniard dismissed Beatriz Haddad Maia, topped Madison Keys and Svetlana Kuznetsova in a pair of dramatic three-setters, then topped world No. 1 and defending Cincinnati champion Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals.
Dimitrov, meantime, did not lose a set en route to his first Masters 1000 title, sweeping aside big servers Feliciano Lopez, Juan Martin del Potro and John Isner as well as Top 50 player Yuichi Sugita. The Cincinnati title is Dimitrov’s third on hard courts this year.
In doubles, the French duo of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeated Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, 7-6, 6-4, for the men’s crown, while Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan won the women’s title, 4-6, 6-4, [10-7], over Su-Wei Hsieh and Monica Niculescu.
Week 3: Rogers Cup
In a pair of upsets registered more by reputation than seed, Elina Svitolina and Alex Zverev won the 2017 Rogers Cup titles for two of the biggest victories of their burgeoning careers.
Svitolina, the 22-year-old from Ukraine, won her fifth title of the year by dispatching hard-luck Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-0, in the final. The loss was Wozniacki’s sixth in six finals on the year, while the five titles for Svitolina are the most of any woman on the WTA tour.
The fifth-seeded Svitolina earned her crown in Toronto, facing the most difficult possible road to the final. In order, she topped rising star Daria Kasatkina, No. 9 seed and reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon finalist Venus Williams, No. 4 seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza and No. 2 seed Simona Halep to reach the title match.
Zverev was similarly impressive in winning his first-ever US Open Series title. The 20-year-old, seeded fourth, dispatched second-seeded Roger Federer in the final, 6-3, 6-4, handing the Swiss just his third loss on the year. It was the second victory in as many weeks for the German wunderkind, who won the ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C., just seven days prior, and his second Masters 1000 title of the year, after defeating Novak Djokovic to win in Rome prior to the French Open.
With the title, Zverev became the youngest Rogers Cup winner since Djokovic in 2007 and the first German to take the crown since Boris Becker in 1986.
In doubles, the French duo of Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut prevailed in Montreal, defeating Rohanna Bopanna and Ivan Dodig in a match tiebreak, 6-4, 3-6, [10-6], while the Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina captured the title in Toronto, dispatching Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke, 6-0, 6-4.
Week 2: Bank of the West Classic
Two weeks, two all-American finals for the 2017 US Open Series.
In a tournament dominated by U.S. players, Madison Keys prevailed, defeating CoCo Vandeweghe, 7-6, 6-4, to win the Stanford title. The victory came one week after John Isner topped Ryan Harrison to take the crown in Atlanta (see below for more).
It was Keys’ first career US Open Series crown, her first hard-court tour title and her first championship of any kind since left wrist surgery in late 2016. (Keys is right-handed but employs a two-handed backhand.)
Keys, who had a second surgery after the French Open to clean up scar tissue in the wrist, played like her 2016 self in Stanford. The 22-year-old defeated world No. 32 Lesia Tsurenko, reigning Wimbledon champion and No. 4 Garbiñe Muguruza, and No. 24 Vandeweghe in succession, all in straight sets, to claim the championship.
As a result, Keys (pictured at right, with Vandeweghe) will move back into the Top 20 after finishing at No. 8 in 2016, the year in which she reached the final at the Series event in Montreal, won Birmingham and qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time.
Also excelling in the Series’ lone West Coast event were home-state products Vandeweghe, who did not drop a set en route to the final, and 18-year-old CiCi Bellis, who blitzed two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova to reach her first tour semifinal.
Vandeweghe, however, would leave Stanford with a winner's trophy, teaming with fellow American Abigail Spears to win the doubles title. The third-seeded duo defeated the unseeded tandem of Alize Cornet and Alicja Rosolska, 6-2, 6-3, in the final. It was the second title in as many years for Spears, who teamed with Raquel Atawo for the 2016 crown.
Week 1: BB&T Atlanta Open
Summertime is John Isner season – and the BB&T Atlanta Open is his showcase event.
The former University of Georgia star proved it once again this year, kicking off the 2017 US Open Series by defeating fellow American Ryan Harrison, 7-6, 7-6, to win his fourth career Atlanta title and his second tournament in as many weeks.
Isner, who won the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, R.I., a week prior to Atlanta, has now won nine of his 12 career tour titles in the summer, pairing his four Atlanta crowns with three won in Newport and two in Winston-Salem – at the Winston-Salem Open, the final men’s Series event of the year.
This marked Isner’s fifth consecutive final in Atlanta and his seventh overall. He won the title in 2013, 2014 and 2015 but lost in the title match to Nick Kyrgios a year ago.
Isner was dominant in the Peachtree City. He did not surrender a set all week and did not drop serve until the second set against Harrison, who held set points in each of the two sets; Isner won the first-set tiebreak, 8-6, and the second-set breaker, 9-7. En route to the final, Isner defeated Vasek Pospisil, Lukas Lacko and a red-hot Gilles Muller.
In the doubles, top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan won their second Atlanta title in three years, defeating the unseeded team of Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak, 6-3, 6-4, in the final. It was the second title of the year for the Bryans, who also won the Wimbledon tune-up in Eastbourne.