Who were the US Open breakout stars?
2022 will be remembered as the year tennis bid farewell to two of its greats – Roger Federer and Serena Williams. But it is the beauty of sport that as one legend quits there is another ready to take their place.
We saw evidence of this natural progression at the US Open earlier this year. In fact, the hardcourt Grand Slam event is increasingly seen as a breakout tournament for younger players seeking to make their mark, as we saw last year when the unheralded Emma Radacanu won the women’s singles title.
That tradition continued into 2022 with 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz winning the men’s singles, cementing his place in the record books. But Alcaraz wasn’t the only breakout star this year – a number of other players put in good performances and made sure the tennis world would know who they were ahead of the 2023 calendar.
Winning the US Open and becoming the youngest ever player to become the world number one is worthy of recognition. When you add the Rio, Miami and Madrid opens to his 2022 haul, Alcaraz looks set to have a stellar career on the courts. But he will need to keep his feet on the ground. According to The Guardian, he will be aware of the mixed fortunes Emma Radacanu has experienced since winning the US Open last year. Losing in straight sets to David Goffin at the Astana Open, so soon after the success in New York, suggests that if he is to emulate countryman Nadal’s career he will need to handle the pressure that comes with being number one pretty quickly.
The multi-talented Sinner didn’t just shine at the US Open where he was defeated by eventual champion Alcaraz in the quarterfinals. Sinner also reached the quarterfinal stage in the Australian Open and Wimbledon, as well as coming from behind to defeat Alcaraz to lift the Croatia Open back in July. He’ll be one of the names to look out for at the Australian Open in Melbourne, appearing as a top ten favourite in the latest Ladbrokes tennis betting odds as he seeks to build on a successful 2022. In an interview with ATP.com, Sinner talked about his skiing success as a youngster; he will be hoping to take that winning mentality into 2023 on the tennis courts.
When Alja knocked out Serena Williams in the third round of the US Open she not only bid an emotional farewell to a legend. As we reported, the match set a new record of the most watched ever on ESPN. But will the 29-year-old Croatian-born Australian be able to leverage that supreme sporting moment into more titles? As well as reaching the quarter final at the US Open, she reached the same stage at Wimbledon, but she has only reached four finals in her whole career without triumphing. Late developers are rare in tennis, with Stan Wawrinka perhaps being the best known. Does Alja have what it takes to parley that win over Serena into a more successful career?
With 10 WTA Tour titles and a two-time winner of the women’s doubles at the French Open, Garcia has enjoyed periodic success in her 11-year career without ever finding any real consistency to be talked about as a top-five player. Thanks to a good run at the US Open where she lost to eventual runner up Ons Jabeur in straight sets, Caroline is now ranked 10 in the world. On top of that she also won the women’s doubles at the French Open and won the Bad Homburg Open. With women’s tennis having lost such a dominant figure in Serena, the field is open for challengers like Garcia to step up and take her share of titles and certainly this last year has proved she is capable of doing so if she can add steely consistency to her game.
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