By News Team
5th August 2021
US Open tennis is just around the corner, with the sport’s best players set to battle it out for the last Grand Slam of the year.
With the 2021 tournament nearly upon us, we can expect some exciting US Open tennis matches involving some of the sport’s greatest names.
Ahead of the tournament’s start, we’ve put together a list of the greatest tennis matches ever to be played at the US Open.
John McEnroe v Bjorn Borg – 1980
Two months previous the two stars of the sport faced each other at Wimbledon, with the match ending in a thrilling 18-16 fourth-set tiebreak with the Swede taking home the spoils. In this 1980 clash, the two players of polar-opposite personalities and playing styles battled it out once more in one of the great US Open tennis finals. When the fourth set ended, the match was tied and the tension was rising. Despite the scoreboard, Borg appeared to be in control at this point. Whilst both men were capable of playing matches that extended over five sets, McEnroe had only just done so in the semi-finals against rival Jimmy Connors – it was thought another long match would eventually wear him down…yet he pushed on. The match ended with double faults from Borg and McEnroe’s backhands staying strong, with the latter eventually securing his second straight US Open title en route to becoming one the great US Open tennis champions.
Pete Sampras v Andre Agassi – 2001
This match was a clear show of the great rivalry between these two American tennis players. They had 20 Grand Slam single titles between them, and they fought a battle of close sets in the 2001 US Open quarter-final. The four-set match didn’t see a single break of serve throughout, despite Agassi being one of the best returners of all time. As each set went to a tiebreak, tensions rose, but in the end Sampras’ superior serve skills won him the match at exactly 14 minutes past midnight…much to the crowd’s delight. This match still remains in the memories of virtually all American tennis fans. One of the best clashes in US Open tennis history.
Venus Williams v Serena Williams – 2008
When the two Williams sisters met in the 2008 US Open quarter-finals, the scoreboard was even with both sisters winning 8 of the last 16 meetings. Of all their head-to-heads this match was probably one of the most exciting, and it’s clear to see why. Venus, one of the fastest servers in women’s tennis, went into the match seeded number seven, but Serena, seeded number four, won the first set. In the second and third set, Serena fell behind, but once again managed to reign supreme. Serena went on to win the match, despite Venus seemingly in control for most of the quarter-final.
Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer – 2011
This list wouldn’t be complete without this famously memorable match between two of the ‘Big Three’. The 2011 US Open semi-final match was thrillingly balanced; whilst Federer smartly dominated the first two sets, Djokovic came back strong in in the third and fourth. The decider looked like Federer was going to earn his place in the finals, but the Serbian made a dramatic comeback and ended up winning 7-5 in the fifth set, progressing to the US Open final. One of the most memorable aspects of this game was the clutch shot played by Djokovic; his forehand return meant that he saved a match point off arguably one of the best serves US Open tennis had ever seen. John McEnroe described it as “one of the all-time great shots”.
Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem – 2018
In 2018, we were treated to a four hour and 49-minute epic. It was underdog Dominic Thiem’s first Grand Slam, and he came out fighting in this quarter-final. The then 25-year-old, eager to prove himself against one of the greatest tennis names of all time, won the first set. The second set then went to the Spaniard, before an hour later he edged in front. But Thiem refused to back down and won the fourth set, leaving the match to be decided by a fifth set. Eventually the match went to a winner-takes-all tiebreak and it was the then 17-time Grand Slam winner Nadal that won the match.