New champions add to fresh look of U.S. Open

Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:34pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new roof was all the rage when the U.S. Open began two weeks ago but it was the crowning of a new world number one and two first-time champions that left their mark on a tournament that came to an emotional close on Sunday with a tribute to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

At a tournament where trainers had nearly as much court time as weary players, Germany's Angelique Kerber and Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka were the last two standing in their respective draws as they each captured their first U.S. Open titles.

Wawrinka played with energy and desire as he tamed defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic 6-7(1) 6-4 7-5 6-3 in a victory that was a testament to his will as much as skill and earned him his third grand slam title.

Djokovic, contesting his sixth U.S. Open final in seven years, benefited from one of the easiest passages to a grand slam final as he was handed a walkover and two retirements but it was the Serb who was ultimately worn down by Wawrinka.

The nine hours Djokovic spent on court to reach the final were half the 18 hours logged by the battle-hardened 31-year-old Wawrinka, who added a U.S. Open title to a grand slam collection that also includes French Open and Australian Open trophies.

Kerber, another player with a deep well of stamina, tapped into those reserves on a sweltering Arthur Ashe Stadium court to defuse big-hitting Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-3 4-6 6-4 to capture her second grand slam title.

And while Kerber may be a new U.S. champion, the 28-year-old German is hardly a new face in the world of tennis.

She has become one of the game's most recognizable figures in a season that has included an Australian Open triumph, a run to the Wimbledon final, an Olympic silver medal in singles and ending Serena Williams's 186-week reign as world number one.   Continued...

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, winner of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament poses with the trophy  in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 12, 2016.  REUTERS/Tony Pyle