Coco Gauff led the way, but it was a wildly successful US Open for American tennis at largeBy Sep 13, 2023
Daniil Medvedev was stubborn to a fault at the US Open, but still came away a winnerBy Sep 13, 2023
With the Grand Slam season in the books, what's the state of the ATP Tour in 2023?By Sep 12, 2023
Four Grand Slam winners, five storylines: The state of the WTA in 2023By Sep 11, 2023
Novak Djokovic put on one of his most impressive physical and tactical performances to win a 24th Grand Slam titleBy Sep 11, 2023
Novak Djokovic wins the US Open for his 24th Grand Slam title by beating Daniil MedvedevBy Sep 11, 2023
Novak Djokovic has won 24 Grand Slam titles. Here is a look at each oneBy Sep 11, 2023
Djokovic celebrates No. 24 with a tribute to Kobe Bryant, who wore that number and became a friendBy Sep 11, 2023
Novak Djokovic's US Open title gives him 24 Grand Slam titles. No one in tennis history has won moreBy Sep 11, 2023
Novak Djokovic claims fourth US Open title, all-time record-equalling 24th Grand SlamBy Sep 10, 2023
Coco Gauff led the way, but it was a wildly successful US Open for American tennis at large
Madison Keys nearly reached the final; Jen Brady continued her comeback; Peyton Stearns announced herself—and much more.
Published Sep 13, 2023
NEW YORK—After winning her semifinal match against Karolina Muchova at the US Open, Coco Gauff spoke eloquently of her desire to shed any vestiges of “imposter syndrome,” a common sense among rising players of perhaps not being worthy of success.
Gauff had beaten Muchova, this year’s runner-up at Roland Garros, just weeks earlier in the Cincinnati final. She wondered, on the morning of their more recent encounter, if she had previously won because Muchova, the oft-injured Czech talent had struggled with fatigue in the withering heat in the American heartland.
“Then I looked in the mirror,” Gauff recalled in New York, “I told myself, ‘No, you’re a good player, you can beat her regardless of her physical standard.’ I told myself, ‘You can do it again.’”
Gauff’s doubts—and, more importantly, her reaction to them—proved to be an apt description of the mood of the entire fleet of American players in Flushing Meadows. The U.S. men and women made this one of the most enjoyable of tournaments for the domestic audience, and one of the most profitable to them. The numbers:
The U.S. placed 24 women and 17 men in the singles draws. Granted, the wild-card system tends to load up Grand Slam main draws with host-nation hopefuls (11 Americans, including Venus Williams, earned wild cards). But the tally of 41 is still a very good number. Nine men and 11 women won their opening matches. Five of those men reached the third round, as did seven women. Those are the players we’ll look at here.
Scores. Schedules. News.
The Tennis.com app has everything you need to follow your favorite sport.
Part One: The Women
Bernarda Pera recorded a notable first-round upset of former WTA Top Tenner and No. 16 seed Veronika Kudermetova. She backed that up in the third round with a solid effort against the No. 20 seed, former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, who was playing well enough to go on to eliminate top seed Iga Swiatek.
Taylor Townsend, lifting her game to new heights with motivation and determination born of motherhood, eliminated No. 19 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has been playing some great tennis this year. “Honestly, it hasn’t been an easy journey,” Townsend said after that second-round win. “But the (self) belief has come from me putting in the work. Yes, I have talent, quote-unquote, whatever. But I’m here because I work my ass off to get here.” Muchova, the No. 10 seed, proved too tough in the next round for the creative touch artist.
Jennifer Brady was laid low by a chronic foot condition and a knee injury shortly after she shot into the upper atmosphere of the rankings (No. 13 in February 2021) largely on the strength of deep runs in Grand Slam events. Brady then missed two years of tour competition before returning this summer. Now 28, she was playing just the fourth tournament of her comeback. She made up for some of that lost time with wins over a lucky loser and No. 24 seed Magda Linette before her run was ended in a competitive three-setter by former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
A newcomer to the WTA Top 50 (at No. 44) thanks to three solid US Open wins, former NCAA singles champ Peyton Stearns was still relatively unknown at the start of the event—so much so that a mid-match change of outfits (from Lululemon to Nike) during her fourth-round loss to Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova led one X’er to wonder if she had signed a new clothing sponsorship deal during her bathroom break. She ultimately replied with a weeping emoji and two words: “unsponsored life.”
Jessica Pegula was seeded No. 3, and the way she has been playing led some to suggest that she might be even better positioned than Gauff, her doubles partner, to become the next woman to break through and win her first major. That did not happen, as she was handcuffed and belted off the court by a stunning fourth-round exhibition of atomic tennis by her friend, Madison Keys. Poised and thoughtful as always, Pegula said afterward: “When it’s a slow hard court and the roof is closed, the ball doesn’t go anywhere for me. I think I have to really over exaggerate being aggressive. That wasn’t something I was able to do today. I think it gave her a lot of time to really set up and go for her shots. She started making them right away. She played great, there’s nothing you can do.”
It was truly a cruel ending for Madison Keys, who had been playing some of the finest tennis of her career going into her semifinal against a fellow proponent of smash-mouth tennis, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka. Keys hit Sabalenka off the court in a 6-0 first set. She served for the match deep into the second set. She lost, 6-0, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5). Some sleepless nights are inevitable. Still, her resurgence was a great sign for Keys, and the American game. At 28. Keys still has time to claim that elusive, first major.
And then there was Coco Gauff. Very little remains to be said following the preternaturally mature 19-year old’s breakthrough Grand Slam. As the tournament wound down, Gauff was asked how she felt about a possible final against Keys. She said: “I think that if it were an all-American matchup, it would be really cool for American tennis. The last time that happened was when she was in the final and I was in the final of the juniors. That would be a crazy kind of moment, a full-circle moment.”
That moment never did come to pass, but there were plenty of other fine ones—and perhaps more to come—or Gauff and the rest of the U.S. contingent at the US Open.
Tomorrow: Part Two, The Men