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2012 Year in Review: US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series

December 30, 2012 08:00 PM
Serena Williams poses with the trophy in Central Park.
Andy Murray of Great Britain kisses the US Open Championship trophy during his New York City trophy tour.
The 2012 US Open kicked off with a tournament-record 10 men rebounding from two sets down to win their matches in the first and second rounds, and it ended with the defending champion falling just short of becoming No. 11. In the interim, the US Open bid goodbye to two of its most beloved champions and staged some of the greatest tennis in its history, all wrapped up—a day late due to rains that once again plagued Finals Weekend—with the most compelling men's and women's finals in more than two decades.
 
The first week was one of hellos and goodbyes. It was known before the tournament that three-time champion Kim Clijsters would be making the 2012 US Open her final professional event, and she bowed out with her customary grace and class, but the other retirement came as a shock: Andy Roddick announced his retirement from the game on the tournament’s fourth day, which doubled as Roddick’s 30th birthday. What followed was inspired play, with the 2003 champion turning aside rising teenager Bernard Tomic, Italian veteran Fabio Fognini and Father Time to reach the fourth round, where he fell to No. 7 seed and 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro in four sets. A teary Roddick addressed the crowd and thanked them for their unwavering support throughout the years.
 
As has become custom, the American youngsters had their day in Week 1: Steve Johnson became the first reigning NCAA champion to reach the third round of the men’s singles since Sargis Sargsian in 1995; Jack Sock became the first American teenager to reach the third round of the men’s singles since Roddick himself in 2001; and Sloane Stephens once again demonstrated why she may well be the heir apparent to the Williams sisters, turning aside 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone to reach the third round, where she fell in three tough sets to No. 12 seed Ana Ivanovic.
 
In Week 2, Serena Williams showed that she was not ready to give up her spot atop American women's tennis—or women's tennis in general, for that matter. She buzzed through the draw, dropping just 19 games in her first six matches, and then rallied against top seed Victoria Azarenka in the women's final, winning the last four games of the match to take the first three-set women's final since 1995, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, for her fourth women's singles crown.
 
Novak Djokovic was similarly dominant on his way to the men’s final, dropping just one wind-addled set in the semifinals to David Ferrer. But where Azarenka blinked in the women's final, Andy Murray held strong in the men's. Playing in his fifth Grand Slam final, Murray became the first British man to win a Slam since Fred Perry in 1936, turning aside a valiant comeback from Djokovic, 7-6(10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2, in 4 hours, 54 minutes. The match tied the 1988 record for the longest final in recorded US Open history, and it made Murray the first man in tennis history to win both the Olympic gold medal and the US Open men's singles title in the same year.
 
In all, the finals proved a fitting coda to another brilliant US Open in which 710,803 fans pass through the turnstiles, the fifth time in six years attendance has topped 700,000.
 
Leading up to the US Open was the Emirates Airline US Open Series, a series of 10 tournaments played throughout North America in the months of July and August. Djokovic clinched the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s title, finishing atop the standings with 170 points after winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto and reaching the final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. It was the first Emirates Airline US Open Series title for Djokovic. Right behind Djokovic were Americans John Isner, who finished with 140 points, and Sam Querrey, who finished in third place with 135 points.
 
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic was the winner of the Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s title with 190 points. Li Na of China finished second in the women’s standings with 170 points, while Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia finished third with 100 points.
 
 
To view a gallery from the 2012 US Open, click here.
 
To view a gallery from the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series, click here.
 
 
 

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