It was a given that Sunday’s final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer would be a nail-biting, dramatic blockbuster of an event. It was also a given that Saturday’s women’s final would have Serena Williams and would be marginally less exciting as it would definitely go her way. So, imagine the surprise when there was a last minute cast change on Friday.
2-6 6-4 6-4. A hush descended on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The unstoppable Serena Williams had been defeated, a No. 1 seeded player had just lost in the semifinal of a Grand Slam. Ordinarily, that would not be a great upset, but a quite respectable exit. But, this was Serena Williams who, until Friday, held all four Grand Slam singles titles at the same time, and was two wins away from a Calendar Slam. The unexpected roadblock came in the form of 32-year-old unseeded Italian, Roberta Vinci, who joined No. 26 seed Flavia Pennetta in an all- Italian final.
The final, it has to be said, felt fairly anticlimactic after the drama of the preceding two weeks and the defeats of the No.1 and No. 2 seeds (Pennetta defeated Simona Halep 6-1 6-3). The players, however, will be remembered: Vinci, for ending Serena Williams’ bid for a Calender Slam and Pennetta, for winning her first slam at the age of 33. For Pennetta, this will also be her last slam, as she plans to retire at the end of the 2015 tennis season, going out the way all players would like to: as a Grand Slam champion.
In an unsurprising turn of events, the men’s final included the top two seeds, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, in a tightly contested, epic battle. After a swift and business-like first set win, Djokovic seemed to struggle to hold serve at 0-1 in the second set; However, he saved five break points to level at 1-1. At 4-5, he ran into some more trouble, but managed to hold serve after the 7 deuces, 20 point marathon. Then, Roger Federer held his own serve and finally broke Djokovic’s to level at one set apiece. Djokovic rallied and won the next set 6-4. After two breaks of serve in the 4th set, Djokovic was serving for the championship at 5-2. Federer retaliated by breaking his serve, and then holding his own. So, Djokovic was now serving for the title at 5-4 against an energized Federer and a decidedly partisan crowd that cheered his errors. However, he held his serve (and nerve) to win (6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4) the game, fourth set, match and championship! With this, Novak Djokovic has now won three of four Grand Slams in 2015 (he was thwarted by Stanislas Wawrinka in the French Open final) and has entered the 10 Slam Title Club.
And so, Novak Djokovic reigns supreme and Roger Federer’s quest for an 18th title continues. As the sun sets at Flushing Meadows, we say goodbye to the last of this year’s Grand Slams. We still have a lot of tennis to get through in 2015, but it won’t have the action and excitement of the Slams.