At the conclusion of the 2018 US Open, we catalogued the best performances, moments and more from the fortnight that was. Now, as the year comes to a close, we are giving tennis fans a chance to vote for their favorites in six categories: quotes, photos, fan moments, breakout players, upsets and matches. This vote was conducted via Twitter over a 24-hour period; final results can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
In his seminal ode to New York, Frank Sinatra sang, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” For our breakout stars of the 2018 US Open, those words rang true. There were no little-town blues for these four competitors on Flushing's blue hard courts, as they made the cut for the fan vote from our post-tournament honor roll. Joao Sousa and Nikoloz Basilashvili also were featured on the original list.
Naomi Osaka: The Indian Wells champion certainly did not enter New York with vagabond shoes, having spent the better part of 2018 in the WTA’s Top 25. But she struggled on the North American hard courts in the buildup to the US Open, before her title run made her "‘A’ number one, top of the list," as the women’s singles champion.
The No. 20 seed kept her cool amidst the chaos of the final against Serena Williams to cap a tournament in which she dropped just one set in seven matches, and won three 6-0 sets. Prior to that final against her idol, Osaka took out 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys in the semis, by an identical 6-2, 6-4 score.
But Millman did both this summer, finding himself "king of the hill, top of the heap," when he shocked the Swiss under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights in Round 4 in perhaps the upset of the tournament. It was the first time the Aussie journeyman, who spent seven years as a professional before claiming his first ATP-level win, got past the third round at a Slam.
He carried that form into his quarterfinal showdown with eventual champion Novak Djokovic, and again under the Ashe lights, gave the Serb all he could handle in a three-set match that was closer than the scoreline suggested. Millman’s penchant for prime time, paired with his workmanlike game, earned him fans from New York to his native Brisbane.
Aryna Sabalenka: Like Osaka, the young Belarusian woke up in the "city that doesn’t sleep" with a seed next to her name. Unlike her contemporary, Sabalenka also came in with some momentum, on the heels of a run to the Cincinnati semis and her first WTA title, in New Haven, Conn. She was named the US Open Series Breakout Performer, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas, for her efforts.
In her US Open debut, the 20-year-old defeated two-time Grand Slam champ Petra Kvitova and 2010 US Open finalist Vera Zvonareva before running into Osaka in Round 4, and bowing out in one of the matches of the tournament, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Sabalenka was the only player to take a set off Osaka in the fortnight.
Anastasija Sevastova: The Latvian finesse player retired from tennis in 2013 but made "a brand new start of it" in 2015. Since her return, the US Open has been her best major, the only one in which she’s been past the fourth round since the 2011 Australian Open. After New York quarterfinal runs in 2016 and 2017, Sevastova broke through to the final four this year. The No. 19 seed used a 6-0 third set to beat No. 7 Elina Svitolina in the fourth round, before topping defending champ Sloane Stephens in straights in the quarterfinals. Only an inspired Serena Williams could stop her bid for her first Slam final.
The results are in, and the winner is...