By Ashley Marshall, USOpenSeries.com
The 2019 US Open Series saw new champions crowned, legends adding new pages to their resumes and breakout performances from some of the brightest stars in the game. Here's a look at five moments you won't want to miss.
Before they thrilled tennis fans across the world at the US Open in New York, future women’s singles champion Bianca Andreescu and men’s finalist Daniil Medvedev were making headlines in the US Open Series.
Andreescu became the first Canadian champion at the Rogers Cup in 50 years, when Serena Williams was forced to retire in the final due to an upper back injury. Entering the tournament, Andreescu had played just one match since March as she recovered from a shoulder injury. The 19-year-old proved there were no signs of rust, as she went on to defeat Williams again in the Big Apple to claim her first Grand Slam crown. With her current run in Beijing, where she has advanced to the quarterfinals, she is on a 17-match win streak with a 45-4 record in 2019.
On the men’s side, Medvedev reached three finals in as many weeks, losing the first two championship matches before defeating David Goffin, 7-6, 6-4, in the final of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The 23-year-old broke into the Top 5 for the first time as a result of his hot month, becoming the first Russian to reach that high in the rankings since Nikolay Davydenko in June 2010. In addition to three consecutive US Open Series finals, Medvedev pushed Rafael Nadal to five sets in the US Open men's singles final and then triumphed at the St. Petersburg Open, giving him a Tour-leading 54 match victories on the season and a 24-3 record post-Wimbledon.
Andreescu and Medvedev were named the Breakout Performers of the 2019 US Open Series.
The day before the entry deadline for the Citi Open, eventual doubles champions Coco Gauff and Caty McNally weren’t even on the entry list. It wasn’t until a last-minute phone call came in to tournament organizers requesting a wild card for the 2018 US Open girls’ doubles champs that they could start packing their bags and planning a trip to the nation’s capital.
The teenagers made the very most of their opportunity, bringing youthful energy and electrifying shot making to a raucous home crowd in claiming the first Tour-level WTA title for either player. The duo defeated No. 4 seeds Maria Sanchez and Fanny Stollar in the final, 6-2, 6-2. The tournament also proved special for another American woman, Jessica Pegula, who won the first title of her eight-year career with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Camila Giorgi.
Madison Keys secured the biggest title of her career and returned to the Top 10 in the world by winning the title in Cincinnati. Her 7-5, 7-6 championship-match win over Svetlana Kuznetsova gave her her first Premier 5 victory, but her run to the title was almost stopped before it began.
The Illinois native was just two points from being eliminated in the first round against two-time major champion Garbiñe Muguruza, one of four Grand Slam singles champs (along with Venus Williams and Simona Halep) Keys had to defeat on her way to the trophy. It was U.S. Olympian Keys’ first hard-court final since the 2017 US Open.
From household names and future Hall-of-Famers to first-time champions, history was being made wherever you looked at the US Open Series. For some players, like Rafael Nadal, success was nothing new. His victory at the Rogers Cup was his fifth title at the event, giving him 35 Masters 1000 triumphs and running his record at Masters 1000 and Grand Slam competitions to 43-4 on the year.
For others, it was the first time in the winners’ circle. Unseeded Zheng Saisai defeated four of the Top 8 seeds to win her maiden WTA singles title at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, becoming the first Chinese singles champion in San Jose, while Hubert Hurkacz became the first player from Poland to win an ATP Tour-level tournament in 37 years, with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over top-seeded Benoit Paire in the final of the Winston-Salem Open.
King of Atlanta John Isner was dethroned in the opening week of the 2019 US Open Series, as Alex de Minaur claimed the second title of his career.
The Aussie toppled American Taylor Fritz, 6-3, 7-6, in the championship match of the BB&T Atlanta Open after outlasting big-serving Reilly Opelka in a three-set semifinal classic.
Opelka, for his part, reached the final four after upsetting top seed and five-time champion Isner, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, in Round 2. The 34-year-old had previously dominated the event, securing the title in five of the previous six years, where his success accounts for one-third of his 15 career titles and half of his 10 total hard-court trophies.
The 2019 Atlanta Open was just the fourth final in tournament history that did not feature the No. 1 seed.