Aces, Surprises and Shocks: US Open 2015

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Such was the effect of the shocking ouster of Serena that the tickets for women’s final between the Italian duo of Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci found only few takers. In a least expected final, Pennetta won her first Grand Slam singles title by beating compatriot Vinci (7-6, 6-2). The 33-year-old Pennetta has become the fourth oldest Grand Slam winner. Later on, Pennetta stunned everyone by announcing her retirement at the end of the year.

If Vinci was the giant killer in women’s category, then big serving South African Kevin Anderson did a similar job by knocking out Brit Andy Murray. Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who has been battling recurring injuries this year, also had a shocking exit in the third round when he was blown away by Italian Fabio Fognini in five sets.

For India too, the US Open provided double delight with its leading stars Leander Paes and Sania Mirza emerging triumphant. The tournament saw a seemingly ageless Indian tennis legend; Paes, win his 17th Grand Slam title. It was his third Grand Slam mixed doubles title of the year with Swiss former World No. 1 Martina Hingis.

The duo had earlier won the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Paes now has nine mixed doubles major titles and trails only behind the great Martina Navratilova (10). A feat that puts Paes among the pantheon of all-time greats in tennis. With such form and fitness, Paes will surely look to strike gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

What is enigmatic about Paes is that even at the age of 42, he shows no signs of slowing down and the desire to excel is still intact. His insatiable hunger to succeed is admirable given the fact that his personal life has been in turmoil.

In a post-match press conference Paes said, “Martina (Hingis) said something quite interesting. She said you have to have the guts to go after something and I don’t believe I have the technique or the calibre that Martina (Hingis) has. One thing I do have is the guts. It has been part of my life and I am trying to find a way to succeed.”

After Paes’s historic triumph, Sania Mirza too finished the year in style, clinching the women’s doubles title with Martina Hingis at the US Open. The duo won their second Grand Slam of the season by beating the fourth seeded Kazakh-Australian combination of Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova (6-3, 6-3) in the final. For Hingis it was a sensational year as she won five Grand Slam titles this season, taking her overall number to 20. Hingis won three titles with Paes and two with Sania. For the two Indian stars, Hingis is proving to be a lucky mascot.

So, why was the current edition of the US Open an affair to remember? One, Djokovic proving his mettle as World No. 1. Two, Roger Federer may be down but not yet out, as there is still elegance in his play, however, luck seems to be eluding him at the moment. Three, Serena’s shocking upset. Four, the Indian tennis stars Paes and Sania bringing glory to India.

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