2016 US Open–Hits and Misses

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Wawrinka
Wawrinka

US Open, the last major of 2016, has come to an end. Stan Wawrinka defeated Novak Djokovic in a sensational final. Before the tournament started, not many must’ve seen this triumph coming. There were many twists and turns at this year’s open. Some players stepped their game up when it mattered the most to perform at the big stage while some fell short of a little something to make the cut.

HITS

Stan Wawrinka
Stan definitely was the man at this year’s US Open. He pulled off an enormous victory against World #1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic. The Swiss held his nerves of steel to fend off favorite for the crown. In the third round he was down a match point to Daniel Evans but he saved himself in five sets. In the final, he stepped it up when it mattered the most and gave Djokovic a tough time from behind the baseline. His strong groundstrokes along with the famous one-handed backhand did the damage and bagged his third major crown. Throughout the tournament, he beat high quality players like Kei Nishikori and Juan Martin Del Potro. Wawrinka definitely deserves a double thumbs up for this colossal win.

Novak Djokovic
This US Open was kind of a bizarre visit for the Serb. He reached the final, which means seven rounds. He played just four full matches and rest of them were just walkover wins or retirement-shortened matches. Also, he was hampered by injuries throughout the the two weeks. He was forced to take two medical timeouts in the final itself. He was limping heavily towards the end of that match. However, he played brilliantly in rest of the three matches that he won. Even in the final when he won the first set, a 13th major seemed within striking distance. But Wawrinka took his game a notch higher and stunned him.

Juan Martin Del Potro
The more you praise the Argentine for his grit, the lesser it is. A few years ago, it seemed like Delpo couldn’t get back to even a moderate level of the game. But a couple of months ago when he beat Djokovic in the first match of the Rio Olympics, and things were onwards and upwards since. He won a silver medal there. Thereafter he took a wildcard into the US Open and made it to the quarterfinals where he lost to Wawrinka. He lost the match but won hearts. The 2009 champion received a huge standing ovation from the crowd before the final service game. The Tandil Tower gave all he had and proved his mettle. As a result he soared in rankings, from #142 to #64. Surely he is one to look out for in the coming months.

Kei Nishikori
Nishikori caused one of the biggest upsets of the year in the quarterfinals. He beat the heavy favorite Andy Murray to make it to his second semifinal in three years. He shocked his in-form opponent in five sets. Before coming to the US Open, Nishikori reached the finals in Toronto and bagged an Olympic bronze medal. At the US Open, he beat Murray unexpectedly and made it to the semis but simply ran out gas and lost to the eventual champion Wawrinka.

Gael Monfils
The ever entertaining Frenchman was a surprise name in the semifinal lineup. His dream run was ended by Djokovic. He took full advantage of a wide open draw and made the best out of it. He made it to the semifinals without dropping a set and was poised to threaten Djokovic for a spot in the finals but he ended up losing in four sets.

Lucas Pouille
This US Open was one to remember for Pouille. The big-serving Frenchman caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when he thumped Rafael Nadal in the fourth round. Nadal looked pretty strong coming into the tournament but Pouille played fearlessly and beat him in five sets. He played three five-set matches in a row, including this one. Pouille hasn’t won an ATP title but this run must’ve gave him a great confidence boost to go big in his forthcoming matches. His run into the quarterfinals skyrocketed his ranking to a career high #18.

MISSES-

Roger Federer
This was just the second time in about a decade in a half that Federer had to miss a Grand Slam. Lately the 17 time major winner has been bothered knee and back injury. As a result he had to call a premature end to the season. The five time US open champion is rehabilitating and hopes to be back fully fit next year.

Andy Murray
It came in as a massive shock when Andy Murray lost to Nishikori in the quarterfinals. The 2012 champion was expected by most to go for the trophy, thanks to his glorious run en route his Wimbledon and Olympic gold medal wins. He was booming with confidence before the tournament but his loss came as a huge disappointment. It almost looked like the Brit might be unstoppable. Making the quarterfinals isn’t too bad a result but since Andy Murray looked in such fiery form, he was expected to perform better.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal seems to be on the downhill of his career. The two time US Open had not played a lot of tennis in past two months. But he looked pretty strong at the Olympics and reached the semifinals there, losing to Nishikori in the Bronze medal match. This must’ve given some hope to the 14-time Major champion. But he fell short against Pouille in the fourth round and lost in five sets. With the form he was playing in, it looked like Nadal will sweep past Pouille but he ended up being defeated. The Spaniard hasn’t won a Major for two years straight now.

Milos Raonic
This undoubtedly was the biggest upset of the first week. Raonic lost to local hope Ryan Harrison in the second round. The fifth seeded Wimbledon finalist wasn’t expected to go down this early. He was injured and that cost him the match. He started strong by winning the first set but couldn’t win the match as the injury got worse.

Marin Cilic
The 2014 champion looked back in shape just before the US Open when he won his first Masters title in Cincinnati. But he was knocked by American Jack Sock in the third round. Cilic surprisingly lost in straight sets to Sock, whose serve seemed invincible that day.

Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios reached the fourth round but retired injured to Illya Marchenko. He was hampered by a hip injury all week and ultimately called it quits, right after he lost the third set in the match. If it weren’t for the injury, there’s was a huge chance for Nick to dig deep in the tournament.

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