The 17 year old took the tennis world by storm during the tournament’s first week, knocking off Dragons such as Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova. Oudin’s run, the deepest by a teenager since Serena Williams a decade ago, was a rare American highlight in a tournament that saw most of the locals get ushered out early.
4) Kim Clijsters
How does the US Open women’s singles champion only get fourth billing? Clijsters, who was retired at this time last year, completed an amazing comeback by running through both Williams sisters before over-powering Caroline Wozniacki in the finals. How dominant was Clijsters? She dropped only two sets in the entire Open.
3) Roger Federer
All good things must come to an end, but for Roger Federer, those things include 40 straight matches at the US Open. Looking less dominant than in years past, Federer still had enough in the tank to reach the Finals, and was even a single game away from victory when it all unraveled. If you need a baseball comparison, Federer’s US Open run was like the 2001 Yankees, taking it all the way to the 9th inning with the lead.
2) Serena Williams
One half of the Women’s Doubles champions, Serena Williams this year will be better known for her outburst against a line judge in her semifinal match against Clijsters. The emotional Williams usually swings from sweet to scornful on the tennis court, but this outburst was beyond what most fans were used to and, with it coming at match point, was unbelievably ill-timed. This would’ve been the story of the tournament if not for the Men’s final played the next day.
1) Juan Martin Del Potro
And what a final it was. Jaun Martin Del Potro, at 20 years of age (he’ll turn 21 next Wednesday), not only slayed the giant in stopping Federer’s quest for six straight US Open titles, he stormed back from the verge of defeat to do so, twice rallying to win set tiebreakers to force a fifth set, a set which he owned. Add to that his destruction of Raphael Nadal in the semifinals, and suddenly we’ve got a name that millions of tennis fans will remember for this moment on. Del Potro, a native of Argentina, became only the second Argentinean to win the US Open, and did so with the first, Guillermo Vilas, 1977, watching from the stands. But really, both Del Potro and Federer deserve praise for playing a match that will be talked about for years and for saving the Open from Serena Williams’ infamy.