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September 2022

September saw the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, take place, as well as two tennis icons, Serena Williams and Roger Federer, say goodbye to the sport.

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US Open

This tournament was full of surprises, particularly on the men’s side. 4th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas won just 1 out of the first 13 games against Daniel Elahi Galan in his First Round match, and went on to lose in four sets. Felix Auger-Aliassime also went out early, in the Second Round to young Brit Jack Draper.

The Fourth Round saw an early meeting between two of the most dangerous players in the draw: defending champion Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios. The Australian took the win in four thrilling sets, which meant Medvedev would lose his world number 1 ranking. Three men were in contention to take it: Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud. But the day after Medvedev’s loss, Nadal was also out, at the hands of American Frances Tiafoe. He played some inspired tennis that fortnight, and went on to beat Andrey Rublev in the Quarter Finals with ease. Alcaraz was forced to battle through back-to-back five setters: against Marin Cilic and Jannik Sinner (with him saving match point against Sinner), to set up a first Grand Slam Semi-Final with Tiafoe.

In the top half, Kyrgios was beaten in the Quarter Finals by powerful Russian Karen Khachanov. Ruud was able to keep his world number 1 dream alive by beating Matteo Berrettini in the Quarter Finals, and then beat Khachanov to reach his second Grand Slam Final of the year.

Alcaraz beat Tiafoe in a high-quality affair, once again in five sets, to set up a match whereby the winner would receive both their first Grand Slam title and the world number 1 ranking. Ruud continued his good form and played a good match, but Alcaraz was simply too good and won in four sets to become US Open champion.

On the women’s side, it was the last ever event for 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. In front of adoring Arthur Ashe crowds, she beat Danka Kovinic and then took out 2nd seed Anett Kontaveit. Her run was ended by Alja Tomljanovic in the Third Round.

As seems to be customary at women’s Grand Slams, many other big names went out early:

Paula Badosa to Petra Martic and Maria Sakkari to Xiyu Wang in the Second Round, and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina to Clara Burel in the First Round. Defending champion Emma Raducanu was beaten by Alize Cornet, also in the First Round. World number 1 Iga Swiatek was able to negotiate the early rounds successfully, and beat Jessica Pegula to reach the Semi-Finals. She was joined by Aryna Sabalenka, after she beat fellow big-hitter Karolina Pliskova.

Caroline Garcia continued her hot run of form into Flushing Meadows and beat Coco Gauff to make the Semi-Finals, where she would face Ons Jabeur. After losing the opening set, Swiatek fought back to make her first US Open Final, and Jabeur proved too strong for Garcia. It would be Swiatek’s day again, as she beat Tunisian Jabeur 6-2 7-6(5) to win her third Grand Slam title and extend her seemingly unassailable lead as world number 1.

Team events take centre stage

The Davis Cup Group Stages played out in four separate locations across Europe: Glasgow, Bologna, Valencia and Hamburg. Alex Zverev was supposed to make his return from injury here, but suffered a setback whilst practicing for the event, and looks set to miss the rest of the year.

The Netherlands unexpectedly took top spot in Glasgow with the United States coming second and hosts Great Britain exiting. Italy and Croatia advanced in Bologna, as did Germany and Australia in Hamburg, and Spain and Canada claimed the top two spots in Valencia. Those eight nations will compete in the knockout stages in November.

There was also the Laver Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event pitting Team Europe against Team World, hosted at the O2 Arena in London for 2022.

This year it was surrounded by even more interest as Roger Federer announced in the build-up that he would retire after the event. For the final match of his career, he teamed up with great rival Rafael Nadal in a doubles match. They went on to lose to American duo Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in an emotional evening in London. Team World went on to win the event for the first time ever, with Auger-Aliassime beating Djokovic and Tiafoe beating Tsitsipas on a dramatic final day.

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