Five things to watch, US Open final weekend: four singles stars align

Five things to watch, US Open final weekend: four singles stars align

As Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal chase history in their respective singles finals, the women's doubles championship presents a formidable matchup between Victoria Azarenka-Ashleigh Barty and Elise Mertens-Aryna Sabalenka.

Championship weekend is finally here at the US Open. These are five storylines to look out for.


What happens when an immovable force meets an unstoppable object? We’ll soon find out when the greatest player of all time faces off against a teenage phenom in the midst of one of the most compelling stretches in recent years. Serena has had her eye on the prize all week: when asked if she came here to win the tournament, she responded confidently, “yeah, I feel like I’m here to do that.” Bianca Andreescu has not lost a completed match since March 1st, and has seemingly forgotten how to lose, winning her past 12 consecutive three-set matches.

Despite the 18-year age difference, the two share a great mutual respect for one another. "It's just surreal," Andreescu said about the prospect of facing Serena Williams next. "Like, I really don't know what to say." When asked about the Canadian, Serena stated, ”Above all, I just like her as a person. She's amazing." They both are amazing, and this match has all-time-classic potential. 

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In a hopefully increasing trend of top level singles players competing in the doubles, Ashleigh Barty and Victoria Azarenka will face off against Elise Mertens and Arnya Sabalenka for the championship. High-profile singles players competing in doubles events is important for the sport, as big names fill up stadiums regardless of the format.

Excluding the legendary Williams sisters, with a win, Barty and Azarenka would be the first pair of Grand Slam singles titles holders to win a major doubles trophy since Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce at the 2000 French Open. The winning team will walk away with their first major title as a team; Barty won the US Open last year with CoCo Vandeweghe. This year, Mertens and Sabalenka clinched back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and Miami and also reached the French Open semifinals.

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On Sunday, Rafael Nadal will try to close the major title gap on Roger Federer to just one. He will also earn some cushion on Djokovic, who is nipping at his heels with 16 major titles. Nadal has been laser-focused the entire tournament and is a comprehensive favorite over the Great Wall of Russia in Daniil Medvedev. The 23-year-old, playing in his first Grand Slam final, will need to play the match of his life to stand any chance against the Spaniard. If the 6-3, 6-0 Montreal final beatdown was any indication, Nadal will leave New York with his fourth US Open trophy, and 19th Grand Slam title. Look out, Roger. 

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Six Americans remain in the US Open  junior singles draw: three on the boy’s side, and three on the girl’s. Unfortunately for the juniors, play was suspended due to rain in the quarterfinals. Instead of closing the Louis Armstrong roof and completing the matches one by one, they will simply try again tomorrow. Katrina Scott leads Russia’s Oksana Selekhmeteva, 4-1, in the first, while Alexandra Yepifanova and Reese Brantmeir are stuck in just the second game. The American boys are paced by rising Virginia Cavalier sophomore Brandon Nakashima, Ernesto Escobedo’s cousin Emilio Nava, and Ohio State commit Cannon Kingsley. 

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Jamie Murray will attempt to leave New York with championship hardware for the fourth straight year. Murray won the doubles title in 2016, and lifted mixed doubles titles the past two years. His partner, the always entertaining Bethanie Mattek-Sands, has won eight Grand Slam titles, five in women's doubles and three in mixed doubles, including a gold medal in mixed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. To walk away with the title for the second consecutive year, the self proclaimed team “Gentleman and the Bee,” will need to get past top-seeds Michael Venus and Chan Hao-Ching. Venus and Chan were edged out two years ago by Murray and Martina Hingis in a deciding match tiebreaker.

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Wake up every morning with Tennis Channel Live at the US Open, starting at 8 a.m. ET. For three hours leading up to the start of play, Tennis Channel's team will break down upcoming matches, review tournament storylines and focus on everything Flushing Meadows.

Tennis Channel's encore, all-night match coverage will begin every evening at 11 p.m. ET, with the exception of earlier starts on Saturday and Sunday of championship weekend.