Winners and Losers from the U.S. Open

The U.S. Open Tennis Championships concluded this past weekend. Although it was an odd U.S. Open–no fans, masked ball boys and many of the sports’ top players not participating– it was still exciting and entertaining.

Dominic Thiem was crowned champion on the men’s side on Sunday in a thrilling five-setter over Sascha Zverev. Naomi Osaka was the women’s champion, defeating Victoria Azarenka, a two-time major winner. Let’s get into some winners and losers from the tournament.

Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and the Men’s U.S. Open final: 

This was one of the more entertaining matches I have ever seen–the fifth set at least. Zverev, the massive underdog, took the first two sets, while Thiem looked totally disengaged. Thiem battled back to win the next two sets handily, and then the decisive fifth set had six breaks of serve, a tiebreak with three match points and some epic back and forth action. It was a phenomenal comeback by Thiem on the biggest stage. Both guys looked like dead men walking late in the fifth set, and announcer John Mcenroe questioned if Thiem would even make it through the tiebreak. 

Although Thiem won the match, both of these players won in the end. Zverev made his first career major final, a breakthrough that has been waiting to happen for the 23-year-old who has consistently been in the top five but had previously never broken through in the majors. And Thiem, who walks away with his first major title, is certainly coming away a winner from Flushing Meadows.

Naomi Osaka: 

Osaka won the U.S. Open Championship both on and off the court. She raised awareness of injustice by wearing a different mask each round that displayed the names of Black victims of police brutality. She made waves not only in the tennis world, but the whole world, using her platform for good. On the court, she fought fiercely to another U.S. Open victory, her second in three years in Flushing, and her third major title. She’s just 22, and she is poised to win many more U.S. Opens and major victories.


Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil all made the fourth round at the U.S. Open, making it the first time three Canadians made it that far in the same Grand Slam tournament. Pospisil surprised, beating fellow Canadian Milos Raonic, the 25-seed, and eight-seed Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets. Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov are 20 and 21 respectively and are both going to be staples in tennis for the next decade. Shapovalov beat two top 20 opponents and nearly advanced to the quarterfinals but lost in a tough five-setter. These two Canadians are part of the bright future of tennis.

Novak Djokovic: 

Djokovic came into the 2020 U.S. Open as a clear favorite without the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, as well as other top competitors Gael Monfils and Stan Wawrinka. He was seeking his 18th Grand Slam title, and it was almost a layup for him to win it this September, but a huge mistake cost him. In his fourth-round match against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic hit a ball towards the back wall out of frustration, hitting a line judge in the throat. Tennis rules explicitly state that this is an automatic default, and Djokovic’s grand slam hopes disappeared from his eyes in a split second. He pleaded with the chair umpire to no avail and walked off the court ending his 29-game match streak in shocking and disappointing fashion. 

Serena Williams: 

This is a bit harsh, but I’ll put her in the loser category. Serena made the semifinals of the U.S. Open this year, losing to Victoria Azarenka in three sets. Serena is 38, and going to be 39 in a few short weeks. Time is running out for her. Her competition is stiffening with players like Naomi Osaka and plenty of other young tennis talents in the WTA. She is still seeking that magic number 24, which is Margaret Court’s record for Grand Slam singles titles. Serena is just one away, but it seems like the window is closing. Serena has not won a major since 2017, which is a long time for her. Does she have another one in the tank to tie Court’s record? We’ll have to wait and see.

Daniil Medvedev: 

I really thought this was Medmedev’s time to shine. Coming off an appearance in the 2019 U.S. Open final, which was a five-setter against tennis great Rafael Nadal, he was due for a phenomenal performance. The 24-year-old Russian came up short in the Semifinals when he lost to the eventual champion Dominic Thiem. After Djokovic was DQ’d, it was Medmedev’s tournament to lose, and he had a disappointing Semifinal performance, losing in straight sets. He also got upset at the officials, which resulted in a code violation and later, a fine. This is the second consecutive year Medvedev has gotten into arguments with officials. He even embraced the New York crowd cheering against him a year ago. He’s certainly a feisty young character, but he has taken the image of the villain a little too far.