NEW YORK, September 6, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, the World No. 1 team from Colombia, became the first South American pair in the Open Era (since 1968) to win the United States Open Friday. Their 6-4, 7-5 victory against Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos from Argentina under a closed roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium was their second straight Grand Slam doubles title following their Wimbledon championship earlier this summer.
Cheered on by many home country fans wearing yellow Colombian football jerseys, the top-seeded Cabal and Farah fired 32 winners en route to garnering their 16th ATP Tour-level doubles title. The victory improved their 2019 win-loss record to 45-13. After being shut out in their first 30 Grand Slams as a team, Cabal and Farah became the second team in as many years to achieve the Wimbledon-US Open double and only the third since 2003. Last year, Americans Mike Bryan and Jack Sock, won consecutive titles at Wimbledon and the US Open.
The one hour and 31 minute final ended when Farah served out wide on championship point, then Cabal fired an overhead winner to close out the Grand Slam victory. Afterward, Cabal brought his son out to celebrate with him and Farah and lift the trophy.
“It’s been unreal what this means for Colombia,” said Farah during the trophy presentation, when asked to describe what the past three months has meant to the team and to their country. “Winning two slams in a row is just unbelievable. One of our biggest dreams was to win the US Open on this huge stadium. So, it cannot get more real than this. It cannot get more amazing than this.”
Cabal and Farah dedicated their championship run to the late Spanish businessman Roberto Cocheteux, who assembled their team and sponsored them for many years before passing away last month. “It was a really difficult time two weeks ago. We made a decision, we fought for it and we played for him and here we honor him, for Colsanitas, for Colombia and for everybody,” said Cabal, his eyes welling with tears as he recalled his mentor. “We are happy we could do this for him and hopefully he is in the sky watching us and resting in peace.”
Granollers and Zeballos came into the final unbeaten (10-0) as a team and were seeking to lift their maiden Grand Slam trophy together in just their second tournament together. Earlier this summer, they won the Rogers Cup in Montréal.
On Thursday evening, Cabal and Farah, reached their third Grand Slam championship title match by ending the run of British No. 15 seeds Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8), in a two-hour match in which there was little margin for error.
By improving to 5-2 in ATP Tour-level championship matches this year, Cabal and Farah added 2,000 ATP Doubles Rankings points to their total (7,940) to take a commanding 4,495-point lead over the second-place team of Lukasz Kubot from Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil (3,445). Cabal and Farah will also split $740,000 in prize money.
Azarenka-Barty super team reaches women’s doubles final
Women’s No. 8 seeds Ashleigh Barty from Australia and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus dropped just one game during their 56-minute semifinal against Viktoria Kuzmova from Slovakia and Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus, and won 6-0, 6-1, Thursday evening on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Dominating from start to finish, Azarenka and Barty reached the final by saving all four break points they faced and combined to hit 18 winners during their win.
They will face in the final No. 4 seeds Elise Mertens of Belgium and Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus, who beat unseeded Caroline Dolehide and Vania King, both from the United States, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
After their win, Barty said, “I think it was certainly, from start to end, really clean. I think we got out of some really tricky games early on, and played a great level overall. There wasn’t really anything that we weren’t happy about.
“I mean, Vika was exceptional today,” Barty said, grinning. “I was happy to just sit back there and go along with the ride.”
Azarenka acknowledged the fun she and Barty have experienced this fortnight. “I haven’t had a title in doubles yet, a Grand Slam title. So it’s very cool for me and amazing opportunity,” she said. “This whole almost two weeks I’ve been having a lot of fun on the court, and I feel like with every match we’re getting better and better.”
En route to the final, Azarenka and Barty knocked off the much-hyped American doubles team of teenagers Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, 6-0, 6-1 in 48 minutes, then followed it with an upset of the top seeds Timea Babos from Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1, in the quarterfinals.
The women’s doubles final is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Saturday’s order of play
At Arthur Ashe Stadium
Mixed doubles final, 1 p.m.
No. 1 Hao-Ching Chan/Michael Venus vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Jamie Murray
Women’s singles final, 4 p.m.
No. 8 Serena Williams vs. No. 15 Bianca Andreescu