Third-seeded Andy Murray of Scotland won his first Grand Slam last Monday after defeating second-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia in five sets (7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2) in the U.S. Open Men’s Singles Final. Murray is the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1936.
Murray’s victory did not come easily. The nearly five-hour long men’s final featured two of the best hard-hitting players in the game. The baseline-focused game displayed only twelve aces (five from Murray and seven from Djokovic) and an astounding 17 breaks of serve (eight from Murray and nine from Djokovic). Djokovic won more points at net and had more winners than Murray, but he also had more unforced errors. This was a problem for him, especially in the waning moments of the fifth set.
The 25-year-old Murray is probably having his best ever year, having made the semifinals of the Australian Open, the quarterfinals of the French Open, and the finals of Wimbledon, which he lost to Roger Federer in June. Murray also won gold at the London Olympics after beating Federer in straight sets (6-2, 6-1, 6-4). Murray hopes to continue his success so that he will be in better position to take the number one men’s singles ranking.
On the women’s side, fourth-seeded Serena Williams of the U.S. won her 15th Grand Slam as she defeated top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in three sets (6-2, 2-6, 7-5) in the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Final. Williams adds a fourth U.S. Open championship to her accomplished list of five Australian Opens, five French Opens, and five Wimbledon championships.
Although Williams had more unforced errors in the match than Azarenka (45-28), she compensated with winners (44-13) and aces (13-0). After winning the first set easily, Williams struggled in the second set with her first serve going in only 48 percent of the time. The third set featured tight points and long rallies, but Williams was able to break Azarenka’s serve three times on her way to a close victory.
Williams ends 2012 with wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open and having an early exit in the first round of the French Open earlier this year. With 15 Grand Slams, she is sixth on the list of women with the most Grand Slam singles titles, behind greats like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Margaret Court, who is on top of the leaderboard with 24.