US OPEN ’19: Osaka, Djokovic return to defend their titles
NEW YORK (AP) — A glance at the U.S. Open, the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam tennis tournament:
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York
The 14-day tournament begins Monday. The women’s singles final is Saturday, Sept. 7; the men’s singles final is Sunday, Sept. 8. Like at the Australian Open — but unlike at Wimbledon or the French Open — there are night sessions.
2018 WOMEN’S SINGLES CHAMPION
Naomi Osaka of Japan
2018 MEN’S SINGLES CHAMPION
Novak Djokovic of Serbia
Osaka won her first Grand Slam trophy at age 20 by beating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in a final that will never be remembered simply for its score or just how well the champion played. What will always stand out about that match was the way it descended into utter chaos — fans booing; both finalists crying during the trophy ceremony — after a conflict between Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos. It all began when Williams was warned by Ramos early in the second set about getting help from her coach in the stands, which isn’t allowed at Grand Slam tournaments. Williams insisted she wasn’t getting signals; her coach acknowledged afterward that was, indeed, what he was trying to do. A few games later, Ramos docked Williams a point for smashing her racket. That led to more arguing, and when Williams called Ramos “a thief,” he called her for a third violation — and awarded Osaka a game. The men’s final the next day was far less eventful and not much more competitive: Djokovic won his 14th major title and second in a row with a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro. Djokovic had missed the 2017 U.S. Open because of an injured right elbow that would require surgery.
Past champions del Potro and Andy Murray (2012) are both sitting out the tournament. Murray had hip replacement surgery in January and, while he returned to action in doubles in June and more recently began a singles comeback, he opted to skip the U.S. Open. Del Potro, whose promising career has been sidetracked repeatedly by health issues, had a second operation for a fractured right kneecap in June; it’s not clear when he might attempt to return to the tour.
11 — Consecutive Grand Slam titles won by Djokovic (4), Rafael Nadal (4) or Roger Federer (3), a streak that dates to the 2017 Australian Open. The last man other than a member of the Big Three to win a major singles championship was Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 U.S. Open.
Total: About $55 million
Men’s and women’s singles champions: $3.85 million each