By E.J. Crawford
The 2013 US Open was one for the ages – and one for the aged. Three of the four women’s semifinalists and five of eight quarterfinalists were 30 or over, and the average age of the four men’s semifinalists was 27, with none younger than 26. Moreover, Flavia Pennetta made her first Grand Slam semifinal at 31, and Stanislas Wawrinka did the same on the men’s side at age 28.
Aptly enough, it was the nearly 32-year-old Serena Williams who lifted the women’s trophy. The world No. 1 defeated Victoria Azarenka in a hard-fought final, 7-5, 6-7, 6-1, for her fifth women’s singles championship, becoming the oldest in the Open era – and the oldest overall since 1950 (Margaret Osborne duPont) – to win the women’s crown.
The men’s title tilt also was a battle of veterans, with Novak Djokovic (26 years old) and Rafael Nadal (27) facing off for the third time in four years. And as was the custom at the 2013 Open, the older man won, with Nadal taking the title with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory, improving to 22-0 on hard courts for the year with his second US Open championship.
With the victories, Williams and Nadal each took home a record payday of $3.6 million as the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series champions.
The US Open year of the veteran extended to doubles as well, as 40-year-old Leander Paes won the men’s doubles title with 34-year-old Radek Stepanek, and 36-year-old Max Mirnyi teamed with relative youngster Andrea Hlavackova, 27, to claim the mixed championship. Hlavackova also won the women’s doubles title, with 28-year-old Lucie Hradecka.
Another 30-something, American fan favorite James Blake, used Flushing Meadows as his chance to say goodbye to the sport, announcing his retirement and leaving to a standing ovation after losing a first-round match in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Indeed, the 2013 US Open was once again a huge hit with fans. Overall attendance surpassed 700,000 for the sixth time, with the final tally of 713,026 ranking fourth-highest in tournament history.
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