US Open 2022 guide classic matches

Tennishead’s guide to the 2022 US Open – Classic matches through the years

The US Open has played host to a number of brilliant battles down the years in New York. 

With plenty to choose from, please enjoy Tennishead‘s picks for just some of the most noteworthy showdowns in the Big Apple.

1980 – John McEnroe defeats Bjorn Borg – Final – 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 5-7, 6-4

After battling it out in a classic Wimbledon final in July 1980, the top two players in the world met again in the championship match in New York, their second meeting in a Major final.

Both men pulled off comebacks in their semi-finals, Borg from two sets to love down against Johan Kriek and McEnroe from two sets to one against third seed and three-time champion Jimmy Connors.

Borg had won the final at Wimbledon and was up 5-3 in the head-to-head, but McEnroe had a US Open to his name from 1979, while Borg was still in search of a trophy at the US Slam after falling in the final in 1976 and 1978.

McEnroe made his home advantage apparent quickly, surging to a two set lead over the Swede.

But the world number one had already won 10 Majors for a reason, and he fought back to level the match and force a deciding set.

McEnroe broke for 4-3 in the fifth as Borg volleyed a passing shot into the net.

The two held their serves before McEnroe served out the championship.

Borg never clinched his coveted US Open crown, with this final the closest he ever came to glory there.


1992 – Stefan Edberg defeats Pete Sampras – Final – 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2

A battle between the two most recent champions came about in the final of 1992.

A 19-year-old Sampras won his first Slam at the 1990 US Open, while Edberg claimed his fifth Major crown and first in New York in 1991.

The semi-finals saw all of the top four seeds vying to reach the final, as third seed Sampras downed top seed Jim Courier in four sets while second seed Edberg was pushed all the way by fourth seed Michael Chang.

Sampras gained the upper hand first to win the opening set as he looked like he could claim a second Major title at just 21 years old.

But the more experienced Edberg fought back to successfully defend his 1991 title and regain the world number one spot from Courier.

Sampras would go on to win four more US Open titles, totalling five in all, a men’s Open Era record since matched by Roger Federer.


1995 – Steffi Graf defeats Monica Seles – Final – 7-6 (8-6), 0-6, 6-3

The two most prolific champions of the early 1990s, Seles and Graf had eight and 17 Major singles titles to their name coming into New York.

Seles had two US Open titles, Graf three, and the German came to Flushing Meadows with the 1995 French Open and Wimbledon titles under her belt.

Top seed Graf dropped just one set on her way to the final, while Seles breezed through with six straight sets wins.

A tight opening set was claimed by Graf in a tiebreak, before a polar opposite bagel set went the way of Seles.

As Graf took the decider, she equalled legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert on 18 Major singles titles and notched the quadruple Career Grand Slam in the process, having won every Slam at least four times.

She would add another the following year, again defeating Seles in the final.


1999 – Serena Williams defeats Martina Hingis for her first US Open – Final – 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)

As the 1990s rolled on, new dominant players took to the WTA tour.

Soon after winning her first Slam title at the 1997 Australian Open, Martina Hingis became world number one at the age of just 16, going on to win four of the next 10 Majors up until the 1999 US Open.

There, another teenage talent was emerging, a 17-year-old American by the name of Serena Williams.

Hingis was already well-acquainted with Serena’s older sister Venus, defeating her in the 1997 US Open final.

Seeded first, Hingis reached the semi-finals without dropping a set before meeting third seed Venus there, defeating her in three sets 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

Serena, seeded seventh, required three sets against each of Kim Clijsters, Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport from the third round to the semi-finals to eventually make it to the championship match.

Once there, she defeated Hingis for her first Major title, one of an eventual six in New York and 23 Slams overall as an unprecedented Open Era career would follow.


2009 – Juan Martin del Potro defeats Roger Federer for his first US Open – Final – 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2

Federer dominated two Slams across the mid-to-late 2000s: Wimbledon and the US Open.

The Swiss had won five Wimbledon crowns in a row from 2003 to 2007 before being stopped by Nadal, and he had won five in a row in New York from 2004 to 2008.

Not only that, but in those five finals in Flushing Meadows, only two players, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, had managed to claim a set of the champ.

Federer had just won his 15th Major title by downing Roddick at Wimbledon, whilst 20-year-old up-and-comer Juan Martin del Potro entered the final Slam of 2009 as world number six.

Federer reached the final with relative ease, dropping just two sets before the semi-finals, defeating Novak Djokovic there in straight sets.

Del Potro dropped just as few sets before overcoming an injury-hampered Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

The Argentinian had faced Federer six times already, including three times at Slams, and had lost on every occasion, five of them in straight sets.

Their most recent encounter, in the semi-finals of the French Open, had gone all the way before Federer triumphed.

And after three sets it was again the Swiss who had the advantage, one set from a sixth successive title in New York.

But del Potro won a tight fourth in a tiebreak before he clinched the decider to end Federer’s win streak at the Slam at 40 and secure his maiden and to date only Slam title.


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