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There May be an American in All Five US Open Finals

Ben Shelton US Open

In what could be an exciting feat for American tennis, there could be an American featured in all five finals contested this weekend at the US Open for the first time in over 20 years. American players are alive in the semifinal round in each of the five primary events contested at the event: men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles. Primarily due to a lack of success in men’s singles, this has not happened at the US Open since the 2001 event that included Pete Sampras in the men’s final and the Williams sisters facing off in the women’s final. If the Americans can take the next step and claim victories in all five main events, it would be the first time that happened since 1982 when Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert were the singles champions.

American Semifinalists at the 2023 US Open

Men’s Singles

While an American man making the singles final is the least likely of any of the draws, the fact that it is a possibility is significant. Until last year, an American man had not appeared in his home Major’s final since Andy Roddick back in 2006, highlighting the struggles of American men’s tennis to get back to the top level after years of success between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

On paper, the draw looks great for American men to be able to make the final, with three of the four quarterfinal slots on the bottom half of the draw occupied by American men. Unfortunately, the fourth player in that half is Novak Djokovic. While Djokovic has not had the success many would expect as far as US Open titles, he has made nine finals and is the heavy favorite to make the final here with his excellent play throughout 2023 and the way he dispatched Taylor Fritz.

Ben Shelton is the lone American remaining in the men’s singles draw and will face Djokovic for a historic spot in the final. While it would certainly be a massive upset for Shelton to beat Djokovic, the fact that he is one match away is a significant step forward for American men and his big serve and the fact he has nothing to lose could give him a chance to frustrate Djokovic and possibly give him a chance. This is not likely to happen but the fact that regardless of opponent Shelton is one match away is huge for American tennis just as Tiafoe was last year.

Women’s Singles

After a few surprises and incredible tennis, two American women have reached the singles semifinal, on opposite sides of the draw. Coco Gauff will be the American’s best chance to represent them in the final. She has been on fire this tournament with enthusiastic crowds supporting her each match. She has a tough opponent in Karolina Muchova, but they faced off last month in the Cincinnati final won by Gauff in straight sets. Madison Keys will certainly be the underdog in the other semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka who is playing excellent tennis. With the volatility of the WTA and Sabalenka’s potentially error-prone game, Keys could certainly pull this off, especially if a one-sided crowd frustrates Sabalenka. Keys is unlikely to win but with two Americans competing, there is a strong chance of an American women competing in the singles final for the first time since Serena Williams in 2019.

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Women’s Doubles

While the women’s doubles is the one doubles draw without a guaranteed American in the final, there is still one American left competing in the semifinal. Chances looked good with the formidable pairing of Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula the highest-seeded team remaining in the quarterfinal round, but they fell in a tight three set match. That leaves Jennifer Brady as the lone American remaining, playing with Luisa Stefani, who will be the underdogs in their semifinal. Though Brady is outside the top-300 in doubles currently, she is a former doubles semifinalist at the Australian Open, and with a third-round loss in singles has been able to fully focus on the doubles event. While they are playing the 12th-seeded team and are unseeded themselves, the unpredictability of the doubles game makes there a real chance Brady represents the United States in her home major and first major doubles final.

Men’s Doubles

While the men’s doubles final will not have an all-American team, there will be an American man taking part in the final. The second semifinal features an American in both pairings guaranteeing one of them will take part in the final. While Americans have not had the success in doubles since the Bryan Brothers dominance, the two veterans involved in the semifinal are both having excellent seasons. Austin Krajicek is the #3 doubles player in the world and this year’s French Open champion, alongside his current partner Ivan Dodig. Rajeev Ram is the #5 player in the world and he and partner Joe Salisbury have won the last two US Opens and are looking for a rare three-peat. Both teams are formidable and the second and third seeds in the event, and either of these two teams will likely be the favorite to win the title.

Mixed Doubles

The mixed doubles draw is the one that had locked in an American team. Americans had a lot of success in mixed doubles with the top semifinal featuring four Americans. The #1 seeded team of Austin Krajicek and Jessica Pegula reached the final and they have a great chance to win against unseeded opponents. While a couple of Americans have won the mixed doubles title recently, an all-American pair has not won the title since 2011. With two elite doubles players teaming up, this is the best chance Americans have to win one of their home titles.

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Overall Chances

Unfortunately with Ben Shelton as a heavy underdog, having an American in all five finals is very unlikely. However, if Shelton can some how pull off the win, there is an excellent chance to see an American in the four other finals. The confirmed mixed doubles final features an American pair and regardless of results, the men’s doubles final will feature one American player. With two American women in the singles semifinal, there is a strong chance that at least one of them will progress to the final. The least likely of the four is women’s doubles. However, the draw has been volatile so the match could be close to a coin flip and it would be no surprise to see Brady in the final as well. Regardless if Americans make history by appearing in all five finals, American fans will have plenty of home players to support over an exciting weekend.

Main Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


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