Riviere Wins Fifth Open Singles in a Row

by James Zug

The 2017 United States Open was a confirmation of greatness. Camden Riviere is world champion and the Open cemented his position as the best tennis player in the world. Outside of world championship matches, Riviere hasn’t lost in a tournament since the finals of the Australian Open in early 2013, more than four years ago.

The Racquet Club of Philadelphia hosted the Open, and a wonderful nine days  of socializing on all six floors of the club ensued. The tournament, chaired by Peter Vogt, was ably and smoothly directed by the RCOP pro shop, led by Rob Whitehouse and John Lumley. For those who couldn’t make their way in person to South Sixteenth Street, Ryan Carey offered a brilliant, four-camera, live-scoring live stream of play on the Van Alen Court.

In the doubles, the question was whether Tim Chisholm & Riviere could surpass the record for most consecutive Open titles. They were tied at four with two men who knew the Van Alen Court perhaps as well as anyone in its 110-year history, Jimmy Dunn & Bill Vogt who strung their skein together in the mid-1960s. The matches went according to seed. One slight surprise, perhaps, was seeing Chris Chapman & Steve Virgona dispatch Rob Fahey & Nicky Howell in three sets, 6-4, 6-5, 6-1. In the Monday final, Chisholm & Riviere never looked troubled, as they gave up just six games in their three-set victory over Chapman & Virgona.

It was the sixth title in a row for Chisholm, and eighth overall, meaning that Chisholm has now set the all-time mark for the U.S. Open doubles tournament,  breaking a tie with Dunn. For the forty-seven year-old, it is pretty remarkable achievement.

In a twenty-four man-strong singles draw (with three more in the qualies), upsets dotted the early rounds. John Lumley, playing on his home court, knocked off seven seed Kieran Booth in three sets and Nicky Howell overcame four seed (and recent British Open finalist) Chris Chapman in three. Howell then pushed Ben Taylor-Matthews hard in the quarters, losing 6-3, 5-6, 6-5, 6-4. (Taylor-Matthews had already endured another tough challenge in the previous round, going five sets against Barney Tanfield.)

The highlight of the quarters, and perhaps the tournament, was another quarterfinal match, Chisholm v. Fahey. It was as if the clock had been turned back fifteen years, with the two aging war horses reprising some of the most brilliant tennis at the turn of the century with another vintage canter. Fahey survived: 5-6, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was 4-all in the fifth set and Chisholm was serving and up 40-0. Fahey galloped away with the next eight points to give him three match balls. He took the second of these to clinch a riveting display of tennis.

Fahey, who had won his first Grand Slam singles title on the Van Alen Court in 1993, then pushed past Steve Virgona in the semis in three tough sets. But the former world champion didn’t have enough left in the tank to seriously trouble Riviere in the finals.

Riviere lost twenty games and nary a set in his four matches at the Open. Despite tendinitis in his knee, he looked as invincible as he was last year. He holds all four Grand Slams titles right now—a Camden Slam—and is now focused on achieving the original calendar slam.

About to turn thirty next month, Riviere now has a total of fourteen Grand Slam singles titles to his name. A great career number. And yet it is not even a third of Fahey’s record of forty-eight.

Visit our U.S Open page for complete draws and links to archived video matches.  http://www.uscourttennis.org/2017usopen/