The Top 5 Matches in U.S. Open History
With long rallies, hard winning shots, and intense match points, tennis is a mesmerizing sport to watch. The 137th U.S. Open is just a few weeks away, so we decided to take a look at some of the most memorable matches in U.S. Open history played between some of the world’s top tennis players.
5. Mats Wilander vs. Ivan Lendl, 1988 Men’s Finals
In the longest match in U.S. Open history, Wilander and Lendl battled it out for four hours and 55 minutes with Wilander ultimately winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Not only was this Wilander’s first U.S. Open title, but he also replaced Lendl as the world’s no. 1 player – ending Lendl’s three-year long reign as the U.S. Open Champion. Many rallies between these two lasted 30-40 strokes, with each set almost an hour long. Having lost to Lendl in their last six matches, this match was a defining game for Wilander and ended up being his last Grand Slam title in his career.
4. Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka, 2012 Women’s Finals
The first three-set U.S. Open women’s final in 17 years, Williams beat Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. Azarenka was ranked no. 1 in the world and was the no. 1 seed in the U.S. Open, with Williams seeded at no. 4. Williams had beaten Azarenka nine out of 10 previous matches and this final was no different. After Williams won the first set, however, Azarenka broke through in the second and was up 3-5 in the third. With Williams’ strength and headstrong approach, she managed to rally and won the next four games in a row, winning 7-5 and claiming her fourth U.S. Open title.
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3. Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert, 1984 Women’s Final
Long-time rivals Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert played each other a total of 80 times in their careers. In their 1984 Women’s Final matchup, Navratilova won in a three-set 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Navratilova had defeated Evert 12 consecutive times in straight sets going into the match and many expected it to happen again. Although Evert didn’t win, this match is one to remember because of her fight that made the match anything but one-sided. Though she didn’t pull through, it was one of the most exciting matches between the two rivals. Following her victory, Navratilova went on to hold an impressive 74 consecutive winning streak before losing in the Australian Open.
2. Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras, 2001 Quarterfinals
The 2001 Quarterfinals ended with 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5) win for Sampras. Agassi and Sampras had a long history competing against each other, with Sampras winning only slightly more often at 17-14. This match was riveting to watch between the two rivals with zero serve breaks and all four sets ended with tie breakers. Agassi was behind 3-6 in the first-set tie breaker, coming back to win 9-7. Sampras fought to win the next three sets and, despite losing two points after having a triple match point at 6-3 in the last set, he was able to close it out 7-5 for the victory. With their contrasting styles and long-time rivalry, this was a match for the books.
1. Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer, 2011 Men’s Semi-finals
In a remarkable five-set match, Djokovic came back from a two-set deficit to win 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. This wasn’t the first time the two had battled it out, with the previous 2010 semi-finals yielding the same result. After climbing back two sets, Federer had not one, but two chances to close the match with a 5-3 40-15 lead in the fifth set. Djokovic shot a crosscourt forehand winner to take the first match point, followed by saving the second match point and winning the next four games for a 7-5 victory. These two top men’s tennis players have played each other 45 times, but never in a U.S. Open Finals.