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US Open wrap: Djokovic and Osaka shine, Zverev and Muguruza disappoint

A look at those who stood out and those who disappointed at the 2018 US Open.

Reem Abulleil 2018/09/10

A hot, humid, and manic US Open concluded on Sunday with Novak Djokovic clinching a third title in New York, a day after Naomi Osaka made history for Japan as the first player from her country to clinch a Grand Slam singles title.

Here’s a look at those who stood out, and others who fell short during the fortnight at the Open.

BEST PLAYERS

Novak Djokovic

He started the season with a 6-6 win-loss record in his first six events and by mid-May had dropped out of the top-20. Fast-forward to today, and Djokovic has won 26 of his last 28 matches, picked up titles at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and the US Open, and is up to No. 3 in the world. He took his tally of Grand Slam titles to 14, tying Pete Sampras in third place on the all-time list of most majors won by a man and is in the running for the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Not bad for someone who had elbow surgery in February and was on a two-year Grand Slam title drought prior to Wimbledon.

He held serve in 101 of his 108 (93.5%) service games at the US Open and didn’t drop a set from the third round onwards.

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Naomi Osaka

The 20-year-old Japanese-Haitian had a stunning US Open. She took out five top-40 players en route to her maiden Grand Slam title, dropping just one set (to Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth round), and losing a mere total of 34 games across her seven matches. She showed poise and focus all two weeks and played big-time tennis, especially on the crucial points.

Osaka saved 29/34 (85.3%) break points throughout the tournament and won more than half of her return games (31/60).

She’s now up to a career-high ranking of No. 7, and is at No. 4 in the Porsche Race to Singapore.


BIGGEST FLOPS

Alexander Zverev

No one expected Zverev’s new partnership with coach Ivan Lendl to pay dividends right away, but his third round US Open exit to fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber is still no doubt a disappointment for the talented youngster. The world No. 5 is 10-4 at the majors this season and has now reached just one Slam quarter-final in 14 main draw appearances.

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Garbine Muguruza

The two-time Grand Slam champion was shocked in round two by 22-year-old Czech qualifier Karolina Muchova, who was ranked 202 in the world during the US Open. Muchova had never won a tour-level match prior to the Open but produced some brilliant tennis to upset Muguruza, who lost in the second round at three of the four Slams this season. The Spaniard is ranked 14 in the world at the moment and is 16 in the Race.

SURPRISE PACKAGES

John Millman

The 29-year-old Aussie was ranked 218 in the world last October and was considering swapping tennis for an office job a few years ago. Millman hadn’t made it past the third round in any of his previous 14 major appearances but his fourth round upset of Roger Federer saw him reach the quarters at the US Open, and gave him his first win against a top-10 player in 12 meetings. His reward is a career-high ranking of 37.


Marketa Vondrousova

The talented teenager made waves last year when she won her first WTA title in Biel aged 17 and ranked 233 in the world.

The Czech lefty barely made it into the US Open main draw because she was ranked 103 at the time of the entry cutoff. She was the last direct acceptance into the tournament and ended up reaching the fourth round, her first showing in a second week of a Slam, taking out Cincinnati champion Kiki Bertens and Eugenie Bouchard along the way.

IMPRESSIVE YOUNG GUNS

Alex de Minaur

Although he blew a two-sets-to-love lead against former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the third round, De Minaur has a lot to be proud of from his performances in New York. The 19-year-old Australian showed why he’s considered one of the most exciting young talents on tour, and backed up his third round showing at Wimbledon with another at the US Open.

Aryna Sabalenka

The ‘Summer of Sabalenka’ will be one the Belarusian will remember forever. Just 20 years old, and playing her first US Open, she reached the fourth round in New York, taking out Petra Kvitova en route after winning the first title of her career in New Haven the week before. Semis in Cincy and last 16 in Montreal came before that. She’s now 20 in the world after starting the season at 73.

BEST COACHES

Jan de Witt

This may not have made any headlines but De Witt’s partnership with Nikoloz Basilashvili saw Georgian reach the fourth round at the Open (defeated Bedene, Sock, Pella) and take a set off of Rafael Nadal. It came on the heels of Basilashvili winning his first ATP title in Hamburg late July. De Witt, who previously coached Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon, teamed up with Basilashvili in May and their union is already paying off as he hits a career-high ranking of 31 this week.

Sascha Bajin

Osaka’s coach has undoubtedly played a huge part in her progress this season. They teamed up last December and have now won Indian Wells and the US Open together. Osaka says Bajin brings lots of positivity to the table, which is something she really struggled to have in the past. She hit a rough patch prior to the Open but has rebounded with a vengeance, and says enjoying her time on the court has been the biggest factor behind her success.

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Alex de Minaur Alexander Zverev Aryna Sabalenka Garbine Mu­guruza John Millman Marketa Vondrousova Naomi Osaka Nikoloz Basilashvili Novak Djokovic Sascha Bajin