A historic tournament arrives. The US Open, in its majestic New York, with its special charm and flavor, It is the Grand Slam scene where the Argentines celebrated more individual titles in majors, among the professionals.
Guillermo Vilas was the pioneer, followed by Gabriela Sabatini and Juan Martín del Potro. The three of them seriously made history in this unmissable event on the tennis calendar because, like icing on the cake, they beat the world No. 1 of the moment and defending champion in the final.
In total, hThere were 17 appearances by Albicelestes in Grand Slam finals in major singles. The different doubles specialties do not enter this account, neither the youth nor the adapted tennis. It is worth clarifying, this review takes into account the individual dispute of the professionals counting the four Majors, that is, the US Open, Roland Garros, the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
It is not 17 finals with Argentines in action, but 16 due to the historic definition of 2004 in Paris, when Gastón Gaudio saved two match points to beat Guillermo Coria. That was and still is the only professional final between two Latin American players, more precisely between two Argentines.
By history, by the general adaptation of the Albicelestes to the slow brick dust, the Major more won should be Roland Garros, but at this point you have to mark an asterisk. It is that in his glorious 1977, after being crowned in Paris, Vilas obtained the United States Open on the clay of Forest Hills, slower than the cement of Flushing Meadows that began to be used the following year in that championship, always in New York .
For this reason, Argentina enjoyed having a champion of that Grand Slam three times. In 1977, then, Willy Vilas had the great pleasure of getting two for the only time Majors in the same season, with the plus that Jimmy Connors beat the local in the decisive duel of the US Open. Far from being a dire number, it took 13 years for another compatriot to touch the sky with his hands on the Big Apple: In 1990, Gaby Sabatini beat German Steffi Graf in a Grand Slam final for the only time in her career.
Even more time passed for another Albiceleste to give himself such pleasure: it was Del Potro, in 2009, who, like Sabatini, won his only Grand Slam in New York cement and beating none other than the Swiss Roger Federer in the very final. That blow was really shocking and, to top it all, the Tandilense had come from crushing Spanish Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.
The plus of the three Argentine owners of the US Open is that they beat No. 1 in the ranking in each final and that they had just won that title the previous year. Vilas participated in 1977 being the fourth seed and Connors, his victim in the definition, did not appear first among the seeds because Björn Borg had displaced him from the top for a week, just before, when the draw was made . That’s why the American figured that time as the second seed and the Swede topped the list.
For his part, Sabatini was the fifth seed in 1990 and Graf, his loser in the defining clash, was ranked as the main favorite of the team. For Del Potro, sixth-seeded in 2009, it was the same situation as Gaby, since Federer arrived in New York as a great candidate (to top it off, he had just won that Major in the previous five years). And another coincidence: the three No. 1s mentioned, Connors, Graf and Federer, won the US Open five times.
The other Grand Slam held by Argentines were the aforementioned Roland Garros by Vilas and Gaudio and the successes of Vilas at the Australian Open in 1978 and 1979, when at that time it was played on grass courts. Thus, three of the seven cups were raised by the players of that country in New York. For this reason, his exploits will always be unforgettable.
Vilas, Sabatini and Del Potro, each with their own style, made a huge mark at the US Open. And it is well worth remembering, reliving such milestones. Without a doubt.