Plenty still at stake for the season finale

 - Alex Sharp

It’s time to look at the lessons learned from the US Open and what is to play for during the remainder of 2019.

Rafael Nadal's back at the 2019 US Open©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

The US Open was packed with historic moments, breakthroughs and captivating contests, providing a fitting ending to the Grand Slam quarters of the season.

Variety and versatility blossoming

The astonishing fortnights from Bianca Andreescu and Daniil Medvedev proved that the future of the game is looking bright.

Andreescu’s momentum keeps on building. The teenager dispatched the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Elise Mertens, Belinda Bencic and Serena Williams with remarkable composure to lift her maiden major.

The Canadian is tactically astute, altering and reacting to events in the match. The chipped forehands, deft drop shots and pulsating power all combine to give Andreescu a devasting armoury. The 19-year-old hasn’t lost a completed match since March!

Similarly, men’s finalist Medvedev lit up New York with some sparkling displays. His contentious crowd interaction initially gained enemies, but his gladiatorial effort in the final won over the fans.

The Russian isn’t the textbook player, having awkward strokes and a ball toss launching across the spectrum, however, just like Andreescu, he is fearless in his striking and knows how to navigate through a match

Daniil Medvedev playing with the crowd at the end of his quartefinal match at the 2019 US Open©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Who could forget Coco Gauff’s sensational run? The 15-year-old replicated her Wimbledon heroics to reach the third round. Comfortable across the court, Gauff’s game is scarily resilient and proactive for her age.

Taylor Townsend deserves a mention, canvassing the net on 108 occasions in the enthralling defeat of Simona Halep.

For those concerned for the next era of tennis can relax. The variety of play and complexity of personalities bursting onto the scene is a welcome sight.

Desperate Serena Williams during the 2019 US Open finale©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Time running out for Serena?

Every tennis and sports fan knows that Serena Williams at her best is unstoppable. The 37-year-old formulated another blockbuster US Open, but fell short at the final hurdle for her fourth successive Grand Slam final.

The silverware has been within grasp at Wimbledon and the US Open the past two campaigns, losing out to inspired opponents on the day.

With the flourishing ‘NextGen’ rising in women’s tennis, the chances for Williams to clinch record-equalling major 24 are looking increasingly slender. Saying that, it’s never wise to count out Serena.


Rafael Nadal screaming at the 2019 US Open©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Race for No.1 showdown

Rafael Nadal’s desire and determination has never been questioned, but the levels he pushed himself to win that mesmerising final against Medvedev was simply inspiring.

The reigning Roland Garros champion has been rewarded with his 19th Grand Slam, just one behind Roger Federer, opening up a three major gap back to the unfortunate Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian was troubled by a painful left shoulder at Flushing Meadows and it remains unclear when he will return to full fitness. Nadal must be raring to go for the Asian swing, knowing he is in pole position to usurp Djokovic as the year-end No.1

On the women’s side, Roland Garros winner Ash Barty is only 86 points ahead of Karolina Pliskova, who lifted her fourth title of the year at the Zhengzhou Open on Saturday. Elina Svitolina, Naomi Osaka and Andreescu also present strong cases to finish the season top of the pile.

Ashleigh Barty's profile with her Roland-Garros trophy©Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

National honours on offer

Perth provides the setting for the Fed Cup final in November as Australia host France.

Barty will be a key component for the seven-time champions, but the French will feel confident after overcoming Halep’s Romania in a dramatic semi-final.

Australia haven’t ruled the Fed Cup since 1974, whereas Julien Benneteau's team are targeting a first triumph since 2003.

Concerning the Davis Cup, it is the inaugural season of the new format, with a week event for the finals in Madrid in late November. How will the fans embrace the new six round-robin group format? How will the players adapt?

The conclusion of both the Fed Cup and Davis Cup ensures fascinating viewing.

Stefanos Tsitsipas during the 2019 US Open©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Season finale silverware

The prestigious ATP Finals and WTA Finals will take place in London and Shenzhen respectively.

The usual suspects are in contention across the board but deep runs on the Asian swing and at events such as the Rolex Paris Masters could chalk up the required points to sneak in for current outsiders such as Matteo Berrettini, Felix Auger-Alliassime or Johanna Konta.

Also, the third instalment of the NextGen ATP Finals occurs in early November. Hyeon Chung and Stefanos Tsitsipas have launched to the major stage from winning this event. Frenchman Ugo Humbert and Corentin Moutet are certainly in contention to make Milan.