That’s it for Grand Slams in 2o14. With the US Open completed, the attention turns to the Fed Cup and the Asian-swing of the year, including tournaments in Tokyo and Beijing, and of course the WTA Finals. The final slam of the year was a cracker and brought down the curtain of brilliant Grand Slams. Here is the review of the US Open women’s singles, with Serena Williams winning the event, for her third successive title at Flushing Meadows.
Serena was handed a nice looking draw in the top quarter but threats still remained from players such as Ana Ivanovic and 2011 US champion Sam Stosur. Serena consecutively saw off 3 American’s on her way to the fourth round, with Taylor Townsend, Vania King and Varvara Lepchenko all feeling the wrath. Her quest to win her 18th Slam was made easier as Ivanovic was dumped out of the tournament in the second round by Karolina Pliskova, who defeated the Serb in straight sets 7-5 6-4. Stosur also exited in the second round after losing to Kaia Kanepi in a tight third set which was decided by a tie-break. Kanepi was to be Serena’s fourth round opponent but the Estonian seemed to run out of steam after beating two seeds back-to-back, with Carla Suarez-Navarro beaten after Stosur. Serena was in-form and still hadn’t lost a set with Flavia Pennetta her Quarter-final foe, with the Italian backing up her semi-final appearance in 2013.
It was the Italian who raced into an early 3-0 lead in the first set before Serena roared back and took the next 6 games to win the set by a virtual bagel. In the second set Pennetta stayed with Serena for a few service games before the American went up another gear to take the set 6-2 and win the match in fairly comfortable style, something that looked unlikely after the first 3 games. The first quarter finished the way it was seeded to, would the rest of the draw pan out that way?
Semi-Finalist – Serena Williams (1)
The second quarter appeared to be the toughest section to call with Petra Kvitova, Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka all contained in the same part of the draw. Brit Heather Watson found herself amongst these top players but her tournament went no further than the first round, with the dangerous Sorana Cirstea dispatching Watson in a disappointingly one-sided match. The first round also featured one of the most memorable moments of the tournament as 15 year-old Catherine Bellis became the youngest player to win a match at the US Open since Anna Kournikova after seeing off 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-1 4-6 6-4. 2004 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova fell out the first hurdle after losing to Marina Erakovic, in another match decided by a third set tie-breaker.
After a promising 2014, American Madison Keys was one to avoid in the draw but her hopes were dashed in the second round by 21 year-old Serb, Aleksandra Krunic. Krunic had never won a grand slam match before the US Open but her stunning run continued as she defeated recent Wimbledon champ Kvitova 6-4 6-4 to produce one of the shocks of the tournament. Her fourth round opponent was to be another top player, with Azarenka making her way quietly through the draw. Krunic looked capable of producing another huge win by taking the first set 6-4 but the former World number 1 proved a step too far, after winning the final two sets 6-4 6-4. Alot of question marks were still hovering above Bouchard’s head after a disappointing run of form after Wimbledon, but she backed up her strong performances at the slams in 2014 by negotiating three tough rounds. Ekaterina Makarova was her fourth round opponent, with the pair setting up their first meeting. The Russian saw of Bouchard in straight sets to create a sixth meeting with Azarenka.
Makarova brought their head-to-head record to 3 wins each after a 6-4 6-2, to reach her first semi-final at Grand Slam level. Would she go any further, or would she be overwhelmed by the occasion?
Semi-Finalist – Ekaterina Makarova (17)
The third quarter was arguably the most open section, with Aga Radwanska the top seed within it. ThePole had never been past the 4th round here before, and her bad luck continued withShuaiPeng ending her 2014 Grand Slam campaign in the second round. That result was the first shock within the section with all the seeds progressing to round 2. Sloane Stephens joined Radwanska in exiting the event at the second stage, with Johanna Larsson beating the young American talent in three sets. 17 year-old Belinda Bencic was making her way through the draw quietly, and after beating Angelique Kerber and Jelena Jankovic back-to-back, the young Swiss teenager faced Radwanska’s conqueror Peng for a place in the last 4, after Peng had added the defeats of Roberta Vinci and Lucie Safarova to her campaign.
It was Peng who was able to compose herself more effectively, and she made her way into her first Grand Slam semi-final with a 6-2 6-1 win. Could she become the second Chinese woman to win a slam this year?
Semi-Finalist – Shuai Peng
Peng’s semi-final opponent was likely to provide a huge test, with Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams some of the notable names in the final quarter. All 4 progressed into the third round, with Garbine Muguruza being the first seed upset in the section, with Mirjana Lucic-Baroni defeating the dangerous Spaniard. Sharapova saw off the inconsistent Sabine Lisicki to progress to the fourth round to face Wozniacki, who beat another German player, Andrea Petkovic, in convincing style. The other big names in the section were not as lucky, with Sara Errani stunning the American crowd by beating Venus Williams on Arthur Ashe, in a strange three set match, which involved two bagels and a final set tie-break. The Italian’s next opponent was likely to be Halep, but Lucic-Baroni had other ideas and produced the shock of the tournament by knocking the 2nd seed out. Lucic-Baroni’s superb run was ended by Errani in three sets in the fourth round, who was to face Wozniacki in the Quarters, after the Dane won a tight match with the 2011 champion, Sharapova.
Alot was expected of the Quarter-final tussle, but Wozniacki had other ideas and completely dismantled Errani to reach the semi-finals. The scoreline read 6-0 6-1 and continued Wozniacki’s strong form produced throughout the first few rounds. Could she claim her first slam title?
Semi-Finalist – Caroline Wozniacki (10)
S.Williams (1) V Makarova (17)
The first semi-final was a hot prospect with both Makarova looking to spring another surprise by beating the World number 1. In truth, the match didn’t live up to the billing, with Serena crushing the 26 year-old Russian 6-1 6-3, to reach her 8th US Open final. Makarova didn’t produce the form she had shown us early on in the tournament, but she wasn’t allowed to with Serena producing some of her dominant best. Both sets were all Serena, with the Russian doing her best to avoid humiliation in the second set. Would Peng be Serena’s final opponent, or would her good friend Wozniacki have something to say about that?
Peng V Wozniacki (10)
Going into the semi-final, Peng had not dropped a set in the tournament thus far, but a dangerous and in-form Wozniacki would still be tough to beat. The first set was a very tight affair with Peng making the first break on serve before handing the advantage straight back. Towards the end of the set she broke again, but just like the first time she handed it right back and we were into a first set tie-break. After getting an early mini-break, Wozniacki never looked back in the breaker and ran away with it 7-1 to take the first set. It was going to be interesting to see how the Chinese woman was going to respond, with that being the first set that she had lost all tournament.
After holding her own serve early, Peng broke to establish a *2-0 lead, and let us all know that she was right in this. Unfortunately for her she handed the break straight back again, and after winning the next three games, Wozniacki led *4-2 and seemingly had a foot in the final. What was to follow was upsetting for all tennis fans. Peng appeared to be suffering and she had to stop several times before trying to carry on. Unfortunately she couldn’t play any longer and retired at 6-7 (1) 3-4* down and meant that Wozniacki had reached the final. It was a tragic end to what was a terrific contest, and I hope Peng recovers well and comes back producing some of the great tennis she had shown in the fortnight.
So the final was to be played between two good friends, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, their friendship would have to be put to the side for this one.
S.Williams (1) V Wozniacki (10)
Wozniacki was appearing in only her second Grand Slam final, after reaching the 2009 finale in Flushing Meadows, with KimClijsters defeating her on that day. Serena was appearing in her 22nd slam final, so was the favourite to lift an 18th major title. The first blood in the final was struck by Serena after two huge forehands from a couple of poor serves from the Dane. Surprisingly though the Dane broke back through some errors from Serena, but the top seed got her rhythm back in the very next game to break again, and go on to clinch the first set 6-3.
Any potential Wozniacki revival was quickly quashed in the second set with Serena playing some magnificent tennis to break serve once again. The Dane had no answers to the power of the American’s game, with big groundstrokes and a powerfully accurate serve doing the damage. The match continued to be controlled by Serena, and at 6-3 5-3* Wozniacki was serving to stay in the final. The game featured some of the best rallies of the match, with Wozniacki doing all she could to stay in with a chance. Suddenly Serena had two championship points and only needed one after Wozniacki went long with her approach shot. Serena Williams has won the 2014 US Open, her third successive home success and an 18th Grand Slam title, which drew her level with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. It was a strong event for Caroline Wozniacki, who just couldn’t produce her best tennis in the final. Whether it would have been enough was another story.
So that was that for Grand Slam tennis in 2014. We have had 8 different finalists of the Women’s singles events with 3 women making their first ever major final. Below is a summary of the four slams and the final result:
Australian Open – Li Na d. Dominika Cilbulkova
French Open – Maria Sharapova d. Simona Halep
Wimbledon – Petra Kvitova d. Eugenie Bouchard
US Open – Serena Williams d. Caroline Wozniacki
Thanks for taking the time to read my review of the US Open Women’s singles event, I hoped you enjoyed it. For any questions or queries on this blog, or other blogs, either contact me on my twitter handle – @Tennis17MAD or via email at – firstname.lastname@example.org