The Serena Open is over. Allegedly. and what a five day event it was. A farewell due to a royal and unrivaled player. High production value. High celebrity quotient. High prices. High ratings. Quality tennis – so much so that the featured performer left the door open (albeit slightly) to continue. She didn’t add to her crowd of majors – ’23 and Me’ endorsement? — but she represented herself (and tennis) brilliantly.
Now week two brings a conclusion to the 2022 US Open that has been deeply undercover –rightly so – by Serena. Competitors come in all shapes and sizes and ages, domestic and foreign. This includes both his and her No.1 seeds (Daniil Medvedev and Iga Swiatek); and a player (Rafael Nadal) who could end up with 23 Majors himself.
Here are our intermediate grades of the US Open 2022:
Serena Williams: Tennis preceded her. Tennis will follow her. But will another player ever have that kind of influence? And how nice that she was/is appreciated while she’s still playing.
Alya Tomljanovic: Just a commanding performance against Serena in round three. Given the importance of the occasion, the opponent, the context, the track record she had when she couldn’t finish matches… that was a career win.
Top lines: Obscured by the Serena shadow, Iga Swiatek and defending champion Daniil Medvedev cross paths in the second week.
Teenage Sensations: Both Coco Gauff and Carlos Alcaraz remain in character. And Jack Draper, a 6’4” tall British left-hander, is 20 but no longer a secret.
Qualifiers: A year after a qualifier won the Dang title, players who had to earn their way to the main draw defeated Simona Halep (Daria Snigur), Taylor Fritz (Brandon Holt) and defending Wimbledon singles champion Elena Rybakina (Clara Burel). .
Italian men: Matteo Berrettini (a second week appearance for the fourth straight year), Lo Musetti and Jannik Sinner all stick to writing. And Fabio Fognini prevailed over Nadal before retiring.
circuit board: Pablo Carreno Busta has a new standard for the hoe to close a game.
Brandon Holt: The son of Tracy Austin (and Scott Holt) did a great job in qualifying and then beat Taylor Fritz (in the only match of his that didn’t go the distance). In the second round he had his chances against Pedro Cachin, also a qualifier, but couldn’t close. All in all, what a week!
Andy Murray: Another disappointing-with-some-positive-snack event. The former champion reached round three and took a set from Matteo Berrettini. But then withdrew.
Emma Raducanu: In line with our UK theme ‘Another disappointing-with-some-positive-snack events’. The defending champion going into the tournament will lose that designation and lose to Alize Cornet like in round one. But she didn’t play badly. And a reset could be a blessing in disguise.
Dominic Thiem: Another disappointing-with-some-positive-snack-event. The 2020 champion is showing signs of improvement. But he’s still a long way from 3rd place.
Annett Kontaveit: would you pull that crap with annet? World No. 2 was Serena Chuck in the second round. But she didn’t play bad and behaved like a pro.
Schmaltz: Everyone loves Serena and wants to celebrate an unrivaled (literally) career. But trotting out her opponent and then introducing Serena by showing a video narrated by Oprah — with the words “greatest of all time” flashing on the scoreboards — crosses a line of reasonableness, disrespects the opponent and is typical lily gilding in the USTA style.
Panhellenic Greeks: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari – both top-five starters – were both busted like Teller and eliminated on Wednesday.
The palm brush: Yelena Ostapenko, Camila Giorgi, Marta Kostyuk (we grant you mitigating circumstances) take note. You play a long, grueling match against an opponent. As a sign of respect to them and to yourself, the least you can do is look them in the eye afterwards. (H/t Donna Vekic and Belinda Bemcic.)
Simona Halep: She says she never felt comfortable in New York – a sign for opponents – and played that way when she was eliminated by qualifier Daria Snigur on day one.
TaylorFritz: He lost to Nadal in five sets at Wimbledon. No shame. Next Major – seeded No. 10; the tallest American – he lost in round one to a qualifier, Brandon Holt. There was a lot of emotion and history playing a friend, but this was a deeply disappointing loss.
More tennis coverage: