US Open 2005 goes to #1 Roger Federer who beats Fan Favorite Agassi in the Finals (9/05)

The 2005 US Open at Flushing Meadows came down to the Legend Andre Agassi vs. the current and reigning champion #1 in the world Roger Federer.  In Federer’s half of the draw, he breezed his way taking out Ivo Minor of the Czech Republic, Fabrice Santoro, the entertaining Frenchman, #27 seed Oliver Rochus of Belgium in 3 close sets, German’s Nicolas Kiefer in 4 sets, and surprising veteran Davide Sanguinetti of Italy in the quarters, before deposing of Aussie Lleyton Hewitt in 4 sets to meet Agassi in the Finals.  There he was tied one set all and Agassi up a break in the 3rd before he took over and dominated the rest of the match to capture his second straight title.

      Agassi had a great run himself starting and after a first round win, he faced Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. The 6’10” Croatian with a huge serve took Agassi to 3 tie breakers but Andre came through in each to win in 3 sets.   Up next was up and coming Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.  The 32nd seed won the first set before Agassi came on strong and finished him off in 4.  Then it was Xavier Malisse of Belgium.  Malisse lost the first 2 sets soundly before taking his game to another level and evening the match at 2 sets each.  Agassi dominated the 5th set and it was now time for the match of the tournament in the quarterfinals vs. American James Blake.  Blake has come back from a tragedy filled 2004 and climbed back up in the rankings. He beat #2 seed Rafael Nadal in the 3rd round in a very exciting 4 set match and then ousted fellow countryman Tommy Robredo (#19 seed) in 5 sets to set up this Epic match. Blake came out firing on all cylinders and took a 2 set to 0 lead just hitting one winner after the next as I watched from the packed Stadium in the mid evening.  Agassi started to play better and Blake didn’t keep up his incredible pace as Agassi won the next 2 sets to make a 5 setter.  It was like a boxing match as both players went back and forth as the clock passed the hour.  Many fans stayed to cheer on and it came down to Blake serving for the match.  Agassi broke him and they went to a tie breaker in which Agassi prevailed as the crowd went crazy. Agassi then went on to win vs. another young American, Robby Ginepri in the semis in a rugged 5 set match taking the 5th set 6-3.

     Other notable players didn’t fair as well. Andy Roddick lost in the first round to Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.  Hewitt as mentioned earlier played well and made the semis defeating American Taylor Dent in 5 sets for his toughest match. The biggest surprise was Ginepri who looked like he would have to meet Roddick but then faced Muller. Ginepri won in 3 easy sets before disposing of German & #29 seed Tommy Hass in a classic 5 set match.  Young Frenchman Richard Gasquet (#13 seed) was up next and it looked like Ginepri would have his hands full. Ginepri came back from down 2 sets to 1 and took the match over while Gasquet tired in the 5th.  Ginepri next faced the pesky Guillermo Coria #8 seed from Argentina and that match was very close with Ginepri winning 7-5 in the 5th as Coria really succumbed to the pressure.

     On the women’s side, Kim Clijsters dominated Mary Pierce to win her first Grand Slam title.  Clijsters defeated Venus Williams in the quarter finals and Maria Sharapova in the semis (both in 3 sets) to advance to the finals.

     In the men’s doubles, the #2 seed Bryan Brothers finally came through in the end by defeating Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi, the #1 seed, convincingly in 2 sets to win their first US Open title. They had reached the finals of the 3 previous Grand Slams this year losing them all so this was very gratifying.  They also took over the #1 position in the world.

     I interviewed Agassi during the tourney and he said he felt really good and he had been preparing and training hard for the Open.   He also seemed confident he would be back in 2006 since he was playing so well.   He may reduce the number of tournaments as he is 35 yrs. old but still atop the rankings in the world.  He has qualified for the year end Masters Cup tourney where the top 8 players compete.  He has made it the last few years and is looking good if his injuries don’t peak up.  I also talked to Blake and he was thrilled about his game and ecstatic about how things have turned around despite his tough loss to Agassi in the quarters.  I asked who his toughest opponents would be and he seemed to finally say Safin (who dropped out because of injury), and Rafael Nadal who beat him at the French and has won about the same amount of tournaments this year as Sir Roger!  Ivan Ljubicic was a great guy to talk to. Very humble and even in defeat vs. the young Gasquet, he said he is having his best year and looking forward to raising his game even more.   He dominated Roddick and Agassi in the Davis Cup first round and has helped Croatia to the year end finals vs. Slovakia the first weekend of December.

     For more info/tickets for next year or the 2005 Tournament, please visit www.usopen.org