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US Open 2009: Something OLD, Something NEW....and a 'Line Call'
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Reads: 7,616, Comments: 1
The 2009 Championship at Flushing Meadows will be long remembered for not one but several reasons as the amazing fortnight came to an end with two of the most surprising winners getting away with the silverware.
A mere mention of the "Story of the tournament" can spark heated discussions among fans but the truth is that each and evey one of them had their own significance and although they made sense to some, for others they simply turned out to be a match-result.
Take, for instance, the rise of Melanie Oudin, a young 17-yr-old from Georgia, USA, who did the inconceivable. She took out three Russians in a row including a former champion to reach the quarterfinals of the singles event. Oudin's charismatic personality added to her success and made the American fans go howling over their new pin-up girl. Infact, the most interesting remark came from Oudin's Grandmother, who despite not being able to make it to Flushing Meadows to watch her Grand Daughter's triumph over Dementieva, said - "Oh, my gosh! That little thing did it!"
The most wonderful thing about Oudin's success was that in her, America found a future ladies champion. The departure of Lindsay Davenport and the 'end-of-the-career' approach of Williamses towards the game had left the US tennis fraternity and fans wondering whether they will be able to cheer an American through the second week of any Grand Slam. As Sam Querrey sky-rocketed the hopes in the ATP circuit, Oudin took care of the women's circuit for home fans.
Speaking of Americans, another thrilling story came from none other than the 11 time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, whose infamous outburst at the linesperson during her semifinal match against eventual champion Kim Clijsters shocked the fans across the world.
"I really wanted to apologise sincerely, because I'm a very prideful person and I'm a very intense person and a very emotional person," she said. "I think it all showed."
Well, as on one hand, Serena's act did raise the number of hits on youtube to a whopping 1.2 million and counting, it cost her the defense of her US Open title and $10,000 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct.
As far as her defense on the misconduct was concerned, Serena earlier said - “I was in the heat of the moment. You can see it was a lot of action. I don’t remember several points in the match today, let alone anything I might have said a couple days ago.”
Elder sister Venus seemed to be reciting the similar lines in her statement about the whole incident - “You know, everyone is human.”
The incident may have caused a huge stir among media and the tennis world, but it did damage Williams' image of a true champion to an extent.
Now that we are in discussion of the controversial phase at the Open, another instance worth mentioning is Federer's alleged profanity in argument with the chair umpire during the championship match against Juan Martin Del Potro. The Swiss Ace, who won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award earlier this year, was fined $1,500 for the heated verbal exchange.
US Open was not just about the player tantrums and the line calls that came along, it also staged one of the biggest and the most emotional comebacks in the past few decades as Kim Clijsters, the 2005 champion, who entered the event as a wild card, knocked out both Venus and Serena Williams to win the second Grand Slam title of her career.
Clijsters, who came into the tournament with barely two tournaments as a preparation to the US Open after a 19 month retirement (during which she gave birth to her daughter 'Jada'), defied all odds and embraced title glory at Flushing Meadows, beating Caroline Wozniacki in the final.
With the win, Clijsters became only the third woman in history to beat both the Williamses at the same Grand Slam event, the others being Justine Henin (2007 US Open) & Martina Hingis (2001 Australian Open).
The ATP equivalent of the Williams duo, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who were touted as the strongest contendors for this year's title bowed out in contrasting style to the Argentine force Juan Martin Del Potro in a very unexpected fashion.
Del Potro's rise to stardom has been phenomenal this year. The Tandil-native reached the final of the 2009 Rogers Cup in August and made his intentions quite clear about his stakes at majors. He turned out to be the only player this year to have beaten Nadal thrice this year, including the quarterfinal match in Miami where the Argentine was trailing 0-3 in the final set.
With a shocking win over 15 time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the final, Del Potro created history and became the first South American since Guillermo Vilas to win the US Open.
Del Potro's win marked the arrival of the challenger brigade in tennis, which is now hungrier than ever, thanks to Del Potro's magnificient win on a rare Monday night championship final.
There were certain players who left a pretty silent yet strong impression with their comparatively loud victories at this year championship. The mighty Belgian Yanina Wickmayer was one of them as her dream run continued till the semifinal where she slugged it out with ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki before succumbing to defeat. Who would have thought that the semifinal lineup will feature two seeds along with an unseeded and an UNRANKED player.
Wozniacki herself was overwhelmed by the support she received by the crowd during her semifinal match. Although her unique fashion sense may come in her way from becoming the ultimate pin-up girl in tennis, her shotmaking brilliance is more than enough to bring her to the very top of the sport.
With so much of drama and excitement, the 2009 US Open came as a welcome surprise to the avid sporting fans who were looking for a lot more than just tennis.
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