Before jumping on to the list of the top 10 best US open finals, we must take a brief overview of the history and background of this most celebrated grand slam event. The US Open is an annual Grand Slam tennis tournament held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the area of Flushing Meadows.
The tournament got open to professional athletes on the year of 1968 and since then the tennis world witnessed some of the most breathtaking battles on the court. Furthermore, it is been deemed as the Grand slam event that has witnessed the most number of attendees.
Besides, the format of the games in the US open is quite different than other grand slam events. If required, a tie-breaker will come into play in the final set of a match in the US Open. That is, if the 5th set (or the 3rd set in the case of women) of a match is tied 6-6, the tie-breaker can be brought into play.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the best US open finals battles recorded in the history of this tournament.
#10. Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic (2012)
You can certainly expect some high octane drama when star players like Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick are there to battle for the US Open title. Right from the start, the Briton displayed his dominance over his Serbian opponent by claiming the first two sets.
Yet, Djokovic didn’t give up and came back strong from the two-set deficit to push the match to a fifth set. Although Murray took it home 7-6, (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2, the drama around it made it a perfect classic for ages.
The match went on for four hours, 54 minutes, standing equal to the current U.S. Open final record. What’s more? The 22 points first-set tiebreaker brought in a new tournament record and further triggered the most exciting moments of the match.
Djokovic did have the momentum on his side after claiming the third and fourth sets, given his last eight five-set matches victory. Yet, it was all about Murray’s unmatched resilience that proved its mettle over a worn-out Djokovic at the end to secure the victory.
#9. Martina Navratilova vs Tracy Austin (1981)
The US Open finals between Tracy Austin and Martina Navratilova came historical in many ways. For the record, it was the first US Open final that got decided by a tie-breaker in the final set. Although Austin overcame the tough challenge by Martina Navratilova 1-6, 7-6, (7-4), 7-6 (7-1), the battle incorporated some nervy situations and moments.
While Navratilova proved dominant in the first set with his signature attacking style, Austin’s impeccable groundstroke made her claim the final two sets. It came over as the first-ever U.S. Open final for Martina and she showed some promising signs in the earlier phases of the match.
However, it all went down to Austin’s cool and calm approach. The match lasted for around two hours and 40 minutes and still stands as the longest-running U.S. Open women’s final.
#8. Billie Jean King vs Evonne Goolagong Cawley( 1974)
US Open has witnessed some epic comebacks and the match between Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong witnessed a likewise situation. While being 3-0 down in the third set, King marked a magnificent comeback by defeating Goolagong 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 eventually.
Goolagong played four consecutive U.S. Open finals during the same time, without scoring a single title victory. Billie King, on the other side, turned to this event after missing in action for few months. Despite this, she oversaw a tough challenge by Goolagong to claim her fourth and final U.S. Open title.
Speaking on this epic match, famous sports magazine ‘Sports Illustrated’ spoke highly of that match and claimed that the match was “far more entertaining” than that year’s men singles final.
#7. Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi (1995)
Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi can be considered as one of the all-time greats in tennis history. Discussing that specific match, it was the 17th match of an epic rivalry between the two. Till this match, their rivalry was tied at eight wins apiece. Yet, it was Sampras who claimed a thrilling victory over his compatriot 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in that US open finals.
Sampras proved his dominance over Agassi while securing the first two sets of the match without much fuss. Agassi didn’t give up, he came back with some superb display of skills and shots in the third set.
After indulging in some close battle for the final set, Sampras eventually turned out to be the ultimate winner of this clash. Agassi, on the other hand, quoted this as one of the most disappointing matches of his entire career.
#6. Mats Wilander vs Ivan Lendl (1988)
Mats Wilander quoted this 1988 U.S. Open finals as the biggest match of his entire career. While scoring a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Ivan Lendl, Wilander didn’t only claim his first U.S. Open title but also toppled Lendl from his topmost ranking.
Besides, he further put an end to Lendl’s three-year dominance on the U.S. Open men’s title. Discussing that match, it did last for around four hours and 54 minutes, making it the longest U.S. Open finals in history.
Even though Wilander claimed the first set, lendl had a strong comeback in the second one. It ultimately went down to the fifth and finals set where Wilander overcame a tired Lendl with his impeccable ground shots and volleys.
#5. Roger Federer vs Juan Martin Del Potro (2015)
Roger Federer stepped into this match while chasing his historic 6th straight US Open. Besides, he was looking to become the first man since Rod Laver to win a Grand Slam on all types of courts (clay, hard, and grass) within the same calendar year.
Yet, the 1-year-old Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro stood between him and his grand slam glory. While many expected Federer to claim an easy win, the Argentinian player showed nerves of steel in this epic clash. Federer lost the match 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 as Del Potro became the first Argentine to win a Grand Slam defeating a legend like Roger Federer.
#4. Jimmy Connors vs Bjorn Borg (1976)
Jimmy Connors is a name that ruled Men’s Tennis during the 1970s. Coming to this US Open finals match against Bjorn Borg, he stood as the number one ranked player. Yet, he had not claimed a Grand Slam title since his one-sided victory over Ken Rosewall in the 1974 U.S. Open finals.
So, Bjorn borg still has a big opportunity to prove a point to his senior rival. Both the stars claimed two sets apiece before entering into a dramatic fifth set that entered into a tiebreaker. After all the twists and turns, Connors finally scored a thrilling victory over Borg by 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11-9), 6-4.
#3. Steffi Graf vs Monica Seles (1995)
Steffi graff and Monica seles are two of the most celebrated names in women’s tennis history. That said, the 1995 US open final between these two certainly lived to the hype. For Seles, it was her second tournament after missing out on action for around 2 and a half years.
The match started on a dramatic note as Steffi took the first set home in a thrilling tie-breaker. Bringing her best on the highlighted event, Seles then grabbed the second set without losing a single game. But, as we all know about the resilience of Graf, she came up with something special to take the 3rd set and the finals home with 7-6, 0-6, 6-3 victory over seles.
#2. Martina Navratilova vs Chris Evert (1984)
On number two of our countdown we have one of the best matches ever played between two of the biggest tennis superstars of that era. They are Navratilova and Chris Evert. While the rivalry between Martina Navratilova and Evert turned on the heat during that match, the proceedings certainly matched up to the expectations.
Despite the odds, Evert came ‘all guns blazing’ while securing the first set 6-4. As she did that, the crowd came up with some big cheers and screams. Still, the best of Navratilova was yet to come and she convincingly took the second set home despite facing 2 breakpoints at a critical stage.
Evert did come up with an improved performance in the 3rd set but it wasn’t enough. Ultimately, it was Navratilova who held her nerves while winning the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
#1. Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe (1980)
Both Borg and McEnroe ruled the tennis world in the 1980s. That said, their rivalry often turned out to be the talk of the town before any grand slam event.
Borg, being the top-seeded player in the tournament, entered into this match after winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year.
It didn’t go likewise for the Swede as he lost the first set in a tie-breaker. Carrying on with the momentum, Mcenroe even won the second set 6-1 in a convincing manner. Right when the American seems like running away with the title, the Swede came ‘all guns blazing.
Borg vigorously won the 3rd set tiebreak and further oversaw McEnroe in the 4th set. Borg didn’t lose a 5-setter in his career and he came up as the favorite now to win the match. Yet, the fans witnessed something special from McEnroe who secured a 7-6, 6-1, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4 win while claiming the 5th set.
All of the matches listed above brought in some glaring drama involving the best players in the Tennis arena of their respective era. Please let us know in the comments section if you want us to cover more such topics in our future posts. Stay tuned!
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