US Open: Rafa and Sloane Prove Defense Wins Championships
Championship weekend at the U.S. Open ended in dominant fashion with the women’s and men’s final being one-sided affairs. Sloane Stephens easily defeated young compatriot Madison Keys 6-1, 6-1. In the men’s match, Rafael Nadal handily defeated first time grand slam finalist Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4
Though the match between Sloane and Madison was unexpected, it was still an anticipated match. For a couple of years, Madison and Sloane were believed to be the next great Americans after the Williams sisters decide to call it quits. Furthermore, the matchup was a contrast in styles that pit an offensive juggernaut, Keys, against a defense specialist, Stephens. Those different styles would play a crucial role in the match.
Being that it was both ladies first grand slam, a rare occurrence, it was obvious that both had some butterflies in the stomach. But being that Sloane’s relies on her ability to run balls down and be a backboard, it wasn’t as noticeable on her end. Madison on the other hand was rattled and began to spray balls left, right and center. Key’s tried her best to deliver winners but Sloane was simply a brick wall. Sloane defense was so impressive that she committed no errors midway through the first set. Sloane easily won the first set 6-3.
Though many spectators had hoped that Madison would settle down in the second set. That was not the case. Madison would not be able to win a single game in the second set. Madison committed 30 errors in the match. While Sloane only committed 6 errors. About that stat, Sloan said, “Shut the front door. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before. Oh, my God. That’s a stat.”
The men’s match was just as lopsided as the women’s. Rafael was competing to take home his sixteenth grand slam and third U.S. Open. Whereas Kevin Anderson was in his first ever grand slam. Rafa had the experience and it showed repeatedly throughout the course of the match. Though Kevin Anderson had the big serve, he not Nadal, had the most difficult time holding it. Rafa’s ability to put serves in play, along with his incredible defense proved to be a bad combination for Anderson.
Anderson made a total of 21 unforced errors, whereas Rafa made just four errors. This established a trend that saw Anderson continue to make errors and Rafa continue to be steady make less errors. For the match Anderson made 40 unforced errors and Rafa made 11 unforced errors. Rafa proved his offensive punch adding 30 winners.
With the win, Rafa and Roger made a clean sweep of the grand slams with each winning two. Now they battle the rest of the year to see who ends the year with the number one ranking.