It has been a heck of a week here in Chicago, and I am happy to say that I will be returning home with both the Singles and Doubles titles. This makes it my fourth consecutive US Open Singles title as well as my fourth consecutive US Open Doubles title with Tim Chisholm. I have to say that it has been one of the hardest weeks of tennis I have ever played. Coming off of an injury break, and not getting any competitive play since June, I wasn’t sure how my game would fair. Overall I am incredibly pleased with the result, especially in the singles, where I had to dig deep in the fifth set to win the title.
The singles Final pitted me against Steve Virgona, who had the home crowd on his side from the first point. This is always to be expected, and I looked at it as a great training tool for practicing my focus. The first set went back and forth until 3-all. I wasn’t finding my range both on the floor and with forcing, and Steve took control. He won the next 3 games and the set 6/3.
The second set I started to find my game, working the floor, and taking advantage of opportunities. The set went quickly in my favor 6/1. The third set started, and I instantly fell back into bad habits. Overhitting and poor shot selection allowed Steve to gain momentum, which is when he is at his best. I found myself down 4/0 before I could regain composure. I fought back one game at a time, slowly regaining control and winning the next 6 games and the set 6/4.
The fourth set was an absolute battle, with Steve and I exchanging games although he always maintained a slight lead. I felt as though I was forcing points more than I would like, which is not my normal style of play. Steve took full advantage of the openings and closed out the set 6/4 to tie it at 2 sets all.
The fifth set saw Steve take control early. I was yet again making poor decisions and allowing Steve to control play. He jumped out to a 4/1 lead, and I knew I was in trouble. I tried my best to buckle down and focus on my game more than anything. I slowly chipped away one game at a time before battling back to 4-all, and then a 5/4 lead. Once ahead I did my best to put my foot down, fighting back from a love-30 hole to gain a match point on the service end. I only needed one to finish the match and win my fourth consecutive (and fifth overall) US Open Singles title. The Final score was 3/6 6/1 6/4 4/6 6/4.
For my first tournament since June I am incredibly pleased. I was able to regain much of my form both physically and mentally, and kept my head together when I absolutely needed it. This gives me great confidence going into the World Championship Eliminators, as I know I can get back to my best. I am always looking to improve of course, but am proud of the heart I was able to show this week.
A huge thank you to John Cashman and his team at the Racquet Club of Chicago for putting on one of the best US Opens I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. They have set the bar VERY high for all clubs in the future.
In the Doubles Final, Tim Chisholm and I took on Steve Virgona and Chris Chapman. Tim had been suffering from the flu most of the week, and was stuck in best for the two days leading up to the Final. I was worried, as our style of play tends to involve a lot of running around, but I was incredibly proud of his level for the Final. Tim is one of the best competitors I have ever seen, and he showed that tonight, playing great tennis from the first point. We had some great exchanges, but felt in control most of the match. We even dug out of a 3/5 hole in the second set to the the match in straight sets by a score of 6/3 6/5 6/0.