As the action-packed of season 2019 curtains down, its time to take a glance at the best Grand Slam matches of the year from ATP and WTA circuit.
French Open 2019, Round 4: Stan Wawrinka def. Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6
In the pre-quarterfinal battle of the one-handers, Stan Wawrinka and Stefanos Tsitsipas were exerting themselves to book their quarterfinal spot at Roland Garros 2019. The Swiss ace, Wawrinka took 5 hours 9 minutes to eliminate the ‘Blond Hercules’ of tennis with an exquisite backhand passing shot which kissed the sideline. It was the longest match in their careers.
“Today we saw only one centimeter can change the winner,” said Wawrinka after denying the Greek gun from entering his second-straight Slam quarterfinal. It was one of the dramatic Slam encounters of the year.
It was a miserable moment for Tsitsipas in Paris in June. He had 27 opportunities to break Wawrinka’s serve but was successful in doing it just five times. “I never experienced something like this in my life. I feel very disappointed at the end. It’s a long time since I cried after a match, so emotionally it wasn’t easy to handle. I will try to learn from it as much as I can,” said Tsitsipas.
French Open 2019, Round 4: Kei Nishikori def. Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-7(8), 6-2, 6-7(8), 7-5
This match took place in two separate slots as the play was suspended due to darkness on a Sunday evening. The tussle was restarted on Monday from the fourth set. Kei Nishikori had two match points in the fourth-set tie-break but the Frenchman erased those points in the nervy tiebreaker and then the men boarded into the fifth set of the pre-quarterfinal match.
In the deciding set, Benoit Paire‘s return game awarded him the break at 4-3 and had all the opportunities to serve out his quarterfinal spot at 5-3. However, Nishikori’s prowess was incredibly depicted as he halted Paire from winning the fourth round and later, served out the match.
“He almost had the match… I’m just happy the way I came back from 5-3, I think… I started playing much better from 5-3, playing more aggressive, using my forehand,” Nishikori said. “[It was] not easy after losing the fourth set 7-6. I had a match point, and I could win in four sets, but somehow I lost the set.”
Wimbledon 2019, Round 2: Reilly Opelka def. Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6
The American big server, Reilly Opelka pulled his third major victory of the season by upsetting the three-time Grand Slam champion, Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon. Opelka held the fifth break of serve of the match at 6-6 in the deciding set. Later, Stan netted a forehand while Opelka had match points and Wawrinka got eliminated from the tournament.
US Open 2019, Quarterfinal: Matteo Berrettini def. Gael Monfils 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5)
The European played a thrilling five-set match on the USA’s most prestigious tennis court for three hours and 57 minutes. It was the Italian, Matteo Berrettini who prevailed over Gael Monfils and reached his first-ever Grand Slam semifinal.
In the deciding set, Berrettini began by taking a 2-0 lead with down-the-line backhand winner on the break point, but with Monfils refusing to give up, the Frenchman was back on serve at 2-2.
Later, the Italian held the break for a 4-2 lead in the final set. Simultaneously he was given a code violation warning for receiving coaching signals from his box. Berrettini had a match point in hand at 5-3, since his double faults prevailed Monfils broke him back at 5-4.
At 6-5, Gael saved match points after committing three double faults, but in the tiebreaker, it was Berrettini who sealed his semifinal spot at the US Open 2019!
“Right now I don’t remember any points, just the match point,” Berrettini said. “What a great fight. I think it was one of the best matches I maybe ever saw – I was playing, but I also saw it. I’m really proud of myself.”
French Open 2019, Semifinals: Dominic Thiem def. Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5
Another match at the French Open which took place on two separate days (Friday and Saturday), the dramatic match was accompanied with rain delays and hurricane-like conditions halted the five-set battle every now and then.
It was the match, where Dominic Thiem snapped Novak Djokovic’s 26-match winning streak at the Grand Slams as it was the Serb’s first major loss since French Open 2018. It was Thiem’s first fifth set ever at Roland Garros and within less than 24 hours he was destined to play a Roland Garros final against Rafael Nadal.
With Thiem’s single-hand backhand skills peaking in the match, he held the first break of the final set at 3-1. Followed by the intervention of the rain, Djokovic broke back at 4-3 and was back on serve. However, a backhand on the net from the Serbian gave Thiem another break followed by an opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4.
Thiem held match points in the next game, but the winds and the Austrian’s errors stretched the encounter in Paris. At 6-5, Djokovic hit a few balls on the net and sent, Thiem into the finals of French Open 2019.
“It was my first five-setter in Roland Garros. It was an epic match. So many ups and downs and rain, going back to the locker, on the court again,” said Thiem. “Somehow I had the feeling that I had the lead in the whole match and then at the end, it got so tough. Both of us could win. I luckily got better in the end.”
US Open 2019, Final: Rafael Nadal def. Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4
Four hours and 49 minutes of incessant tennis in a Grand Slam final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev was about to deliver a ‘Non-Big Four’ contestant as the Grand Slam champion, but by playing some courageous tennis in the fifth set, Nadal appended another Slam to Big Four’s account.
After Medvedev dropping two sets, the spectators concluded Nadal to be the 2019 champion in the US, however with the Russian elongating the match and giving a tough time to Rafa in the decider the tennis followers had their eyes glued to their television sets throughout the match.
“It has been one of the most emotional nights in my tennis career,” Nadal said. “It has been an amazing final. It has been a crazy match.”
Wimbledon 2019, Final: Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer 7–6, 1–6, 7–6, 4–6, 13–12
The intense four hours 56 minutes battle under the English sky between the two elite players of tennis resulted in the longest Wimbledon final in the history of the tournament. However, the Djokovic fans will remember it as the ‘Grand Slam Final of the Decade’.
With Roger Federer dissolving two Wimbledon championship points at 8-7, 40-15 in the deciding set and Novak Djokovic being on the backfoot throughout the monumental major final, that day the scoring system of tennis revealed the Serbian as the Wimbledon 2019 champion and Federer’s 21st Slam was stumbled by a point.
Federer could eclipse his age-old rival, Djokovic in every possible stat but the Swiss playing feeble tennis in the tiebreakers and the Serb’s utter mental toughness was pricey for Federer.
Moving on to the WTA side of the sport, the women’s game delivered a few exhilarating matches and that join the list of best Grand Slam matches of 2019.
Australian Open 2019, Final: Naomi Osaka def. Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-4
Both, Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka played a sensational match on the Rod Laver Arena for two hours and 27 minutes which electrified the crowd. Osaka had three championship points at 5-3 in the second set, but Kvitova showed nerves and later extended the battle by a set.
The Japanese tennis breeze, Naomi Osaka kept her Grand Slam winning streak alive in Melbourne and extended it to 14, by pulling off her second straight major title at the Australian Open 2019.
Wimbledon 2019, Round Four: Karolina Muchova def. Karolina Pliskova 4-6, 7-5, 13-11
Unseeded Karolina Muchova ousted her third-seeded compatriot, Karolina Pliskova in the marathon match of the women’s game. Muchova took more than three hours of time to take down Pliskova.
In the final set, Pliskova had numerous chances to pull off a victory. she held break chances at 5-6 and two more at 8-9 before finally breaking through the Muchova serve at 11-10. However, it the unseeded Czech battled past to seal the set 13-11.
This year was Muchova’s debut at Wimbledon’s main draw and the Czech breezed into the quarterfinals. “I never played such a long match, I think not even on clay,” Muchova said afterward. “It was tough. I was happy I could make last game to break her and we didn’t have to play a tiebreak.”
Wimbledon 2019, Round One: Coco Gauff def. Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4
What a beginning it was for the 15-year-old, Coco Gauff who played and won her first-ever major match against her idol, Venus Williams. The 24 years of an age difference between them certainly set up the ‘youngest vs oldest’ matchup at SW19 this year.
The youngest contestant in Wimbledon’s draw, Coco Gauff blitzed powerful groundstrokes from the baseline and defeated the seven-time major champion in straight sets. “Thank you for everything you did. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her,” Gauff addressed Williams on the net.
“Honestly, I don’t really know how to feel. This is the first time I ever cried after a match. Or winning, obviously; I’ve cried after a loss before,” said Gauff, who grew up admiring Williams sisters. “I don’t even know how to explain how I feel.”
Wimbledon 2019, Round Three: Coco Gauff def. Polona Hercog 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-5
Another remarkable match which the teenage phenom, Coco Gauff played against the six-feet one-inch tall, Polona Hercog on the Centre Court of Wimbledon. The Grand Slam debutant, Gauff was one point away from getting eliminated from Wimbledon.
However, by slicing the tennis ball every now and then and focusing to play every point with absolute dedication, Coco’s sealed her fourth-round spot as Hercog’s lob on the last point was placed beyond the baseline. The battle concluded to be one the best Grand Slam matches of 2019.
US Open 2019, Round Two: Taylor Townsend def. Simona Halep 2-6, 6-3, 7-6
Halep saved a pair of match points on Townsend’s serve at 5-4 in the third set. Also, the Romanian had a match point before qualifier Townsend could seize the match in the tiebreaker and the WTA duo exhibited one the best Grand Slam matches of 2019.
“This means a lot. It’s been a long journey. I had a match point against Kiki Bertens at Wimbledon and close matches this year and not managed to get over the hump,” an emotional Townsend send.
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