World No. 1 seed—Spain’s Rafael Nadal—dominated the 2017 United States Open from the start. In a tournament full of upsets, but lacking many big stars, Nadal won his 16th grand slam singles title, putting him only three titles behind Swiss legend Roger Federer on the all-time grand slam list.
Nadal defeated the No. 28 seed Kevin Anderson from South Africa, who was the lowest-ranked men’s singles finalist in the Open since the Association of Tennis Professionals created the ranking system in 1973.
2016 men’s champion Stan Wawrinka and his runner-up Novak Djokovic both withdrew from the tournament due to injuries. Coincidently with those withdrawals, both men ended considerably long streaks for consecutive grand slam appearances—Djokovic with 51 and Wawrinka with 50.
Other high-ranking stars such as Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka and Kei Nishikori also withdrew from the Open.
Along with withdrawals, upset greatly characterized the competition. On the women’s singles side: No. 2 seed Simona Halep, 2016 women’s champion Angelique Kerber and No. 7 seed Johanna Konta all lost in the first round. Additionally, No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki lost in the second round.
Fan-favorite Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the No. 24 seed on the men’s side, had a surprising run. After returning from injury, del Potro defeated 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, moving on to play in what could be argued as being the match of the Open.
Del Potro dueled No. 6 seed Dominic Thiem in the fourth round for a full five sets, all while playing visibly ill with a virus. Thiem dominated the first two sets, allowing only three games to go to del Potro. Still, he would not let up and went to take the third set—six games to one.
Thiem kept del Potro at bay to start the fourth set, going up five to two, but once again del Potro came back to make it a one game difference. Twice Thiem had match point while del Potro served, and twice del Potro aced to keep himself in the game.
Del Potro nearly swept the tiebreaker and the match went to a fifth set. At match point, Thiem double-faulted to send del Potro to a quarterfinal match against Federer, who was making a record 71st appearance in a grand slam.
Had Federer beat del Potro, he would have gone up against Nadal for the first time at the Open in their careers, but del Potro survived, only to inevitably be defeated by Nadal.
The 24-year-old American Sloane Stephens was unseeded in the Open after 11 months of rehabilitation from a bad foot injury; she defeated No. 11 seed Dominika Cibulková, however, in the second round after qualifying for the Open.
Stephens conquered No 26. seed Julia Görges and No. 18 seed Anastasija Sevastova to reach the semifinals, which featured four Americans for the first time since 1981. There, Stephens defeated No. 5 seed Venus Williams in three sets, advancing to the final against No. 12 seed Madison Keys.
In the final match, Stephens triumphed over Keys, winning the first two sets; she only allowed three games to go to her opponent, none of which came in the second set. After winning the Open, Stephens now ranks No. 17, and after the incredible run at the Open, many are looking forward to see the future success that is certain to come for Stephens.