US Open: Same Ol' Sunday, Croatian Monday
Quite the fortnight in Flushing.
The old guard really isn't that old, and the new wave really is that new.
Serena Williams won't turn 33 until later this month, but she shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, after cashing the richest check in WTA history -- $4million -- the younger Williams sister is most likely looking for more Grand Slam titles in the near future.
And after crushing the talented Caroline Wosniacki -- 6-3,6-3 -- for the US Open championship, there's no reason to think differently. It was her 18th Slam title, tying her with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert for tops in the history of women's tennis.
There was talk that Williams had become too distracted by off-court ventures, especially as she had yet to reach even the quarter-finals in any Slam event this year. So, as evidenced, her victory at the Arthur Ashe Stadium was as much a relief as an accomplishment.
While Williams was savoring a revival of sorts, the men's final was experiencing a possible changing of the guard. Or at least a respite from the usual suspects.
This was the first time since 2005 that a US Open men's crown would be contested without anyone named Djokovic, Federer, or Nadal on the program. The Spaniard was absent due to injury, and the Nos 1- and 2-ranked players on the tour both fell in the semi-finals. The Serb lost to Japan's Kei Nishikori, the No 10 seed, in four sets: 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4), and 6-3. The Swiss legend was dumped in three straight -- 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 -- by Croatia's Marin Čilić, the No 14 seed.
And if it was Monday, it was destined for a Croatian to prevail in the final:
The only other Croatian to win a Grand Slam event is Goran Ivanisevic, who raised the hardware at Wimbledon in 2001. He came from a wild card position to triumph, and did it on a Monday due to a Sunday rainout. So he was the perfect coach -- both for technique and mental strength -- for his fellow countryman.
So, while Serena Williams continues her quest for an historic 19th Grand Slam, what becomes of the men's top tier? Well, according to Nate Silver's geek think tank, they'll be back.
But now, it's entirely possible the previously unheralded 2014 finalists will be waiting for them.