Blushing is one way to describe this year’s US Open, after the number of shocks and twists throughout both draws.
Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens emerged victorious but that alone doesn’t tell the story of what’s been a whirlwind fortnight in tennis.
Andy Murray’s post draw withdrawal from the tournament left the bottom half wide open. He was also joined on the sidelines by Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.
Over in the top half, Nadal and Roger Federer knew whoever got furthest would be the world no.1 even if came down to a straight battle in the semi finals.
The opening round certainly produced plenty of shocks with Fabio Fognini David Ferrer, Richard Gasquet, Nick Krygios and Jack Sock all crashing out. They were nearly joined by Federer as he fought to a five set victory over American youngster, Frances Tiafoe.
Rounds two and three pretty much ran according to seedings except for the odd few of Tomas Berdych, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev crashing out to unseeded players.
Marin Cilic’s third round loss was a big shock, thus guaranteeing a new Grand Slam finalist from the bottom half.
The fourth round also went well except for Belgium’s David Goffin losing to Andrey Rublev in straight sets.
Juan Martin Del Potro however was the star of that round with a five set victory over Dominic Thiem.
The popular Argentinian suffering from an ear issue, looked set for a brutal exit before roaring back and then beating Federer in the quarter finals.
Kevin Anderson produced another surprise in the last eight when he dumped out home favourite and 17th seed, Sam Querrey. He then went on to prevent an all Spanish final by beating Pablo Carreno-Busta in semi finals.
Nadal however cruised through his ties on the quiet, mar brief scares when lost opening sets of his third round tie against Leonard Mayer and in semis vs Del Potro.
He then comfortably saw off Anderson to clinch his third US Open with a 6-3 6-3 6-4 final result.
Despite the several shocks, some new stars emerged with Canada’s Denis Shapovalov being the biggest surprise. Having come through qualifying, the 18 year old dumped out Jo Wilfried Tsonga early on before falling to a tight fourth round defeat by Carreno-Bust.
Like the men’s draw, there were plenty of surprises with nine of the top ten players going for the world no.1 ranking.
Simona Halep and Johanna Konta suffered shock first round exits to leave their dreams in tatters. Halep however faced the returning Maria Sharapova, which made her exit all the more surprising.
Defending champion, Angelique Kerber joined them on early flights home after suffering an unexpected defeat to Naomi Osaka.
Caroline Wozniacki fell in second round to Elena Makarova before Jelena Ostapenko followed her out a round later.
Garbine Muguruza fell at the fourth round alongside Elina Svitolina. Unlike the latter, Muguruza stood to be the new World no.1 if Karolina Pliskova failed to reach final and Venus Williams didn’t become champion.
Sharapova quietly rode her way into the fourth round before crashing out. That is a strong result for her first Grand Slam in over 18 months, so expect her to be a threat in Melbourne.
The quarter finals saw Coco Vandeweghe, Madison Keys, V.Williams and Stephens book their place in the final four. This marked the first time in 37 years that the US Open has seen an all American last four in either singles draw.
Could the future of US tennis be starting to rear its head as Williams approaches retirement?
Keys and Stephens came through two different semis to play in the final. Whilst Stephens needed a 6-1 0-6 7-5 win, Keys crushed Vandeweghe 6-1 6-2 leaving her as the strong favourite to lift the trophy.
Fate had other ideas in mind with Stephens – previously hyped as the new Serena Williams producing a dominant display to clinch a 6-3 6-0 victory to become champion.
At start of summer, she was ranked outside the world’s top 900 making this all the more remarkable and unexpected. With this victory, she enters the Autumn as the world no.17.
Overall, this has been a fun US Open but the ITF will be blushing with relief that there wasn’t two first time winners here.
Take out the big names from both draws, the future looks very unpredictable with everyone potentially winning the Grand Slams.
That would make marketing much harder because there will be no leading figures to use to pull in crowds, especially to a ever difficult youth audience.
Back to the tournament itself, this definitely has demonstrated how close we are getting to a changing of the guard.
The women’s draw as usual was wide open but for a player to return from injury in June then become a Grand Slam champion by mid September is unbelievable.
Over on men’s side, Nadal winning is a great achievement to potentially set up a fight between him and Federer for the most Grand Slams record.
The next generation lack that extra edge of those greats but the teenage generation is fast starting to get on par. If the Australian Open sees something similar despite the return of Murray, Wawrinka and co, expect next year to be ultra unpredictable.
2017 US Open will be remembered for its unpredictability but could this be the start of a new era?