To say that the 2011 US Open was a thriller would be putting it mildly. We had some great matches and great upsets throughout the entire tournament.
While winning the championship is the obvious goal, there are a few athletes that should be happy with the fact that they've finally begun to make progress in climbing up the ladder to super-stardom in the ATP or WTA.
These 10 players made the most noise in Flushing Meadows in 2011.
Give Isner a lot of credit; he broke into the quarterfinals for the first time in any of his grand slam tournament appearances. This answered at least some of his critics right?
Isner showed great resilience in many situations, especially against Andy Murray. Despite the loss, Isner showed that he has the capabilities to compete with some of the game's best.
His powerful serve and great resilience earned him a bit of respect in the tennis world. I'm making a bold prediction right now—Isner will win a grand slam tournament in 2012.
The man just cannot get it done in the clutch.
After an impressive showing in his first five rounds, Murray continued to fail against Rafael Nadal.
A large part of his demise may have been assisted by a long second round match against Robin Haase. In that match, Murray was down two sets before coming all the way back to win.
Against John Isner, Murray continue to show incredible accuracy and great poise throughout the match, despite much frustration and noticeable back pain.
His performance was good. The fact that he cannot break the barrier weighs heavily on my opinion of him.
Petkovic was one of the ladies I selected before the US Open to make a deep run toward her first grand slam championship.
She did not, but she should be proud that her quarterfinal appearance was her third such appearance in grand slams in 2011. She quarterfinaled at the French and Australian Opens as well.
Petkovic ran into a brick wall in Caroline Wozniacki; up until then, she played very good tennis. Her strong serve baffled her first four opponents and she was able to land her shots down the line.
Petkovic is only 25, so she'll continue to make some noise over the next few years.
Despite her shocking semifinal run, Kerber comes in only seventh on the list.
I'm proud of Kerber's run and I'm very happy for her. Unfortunately, the value of her deep run is considerably diminished when you think of who she played throughout her first four rounds.
Names include Lauren Davis (age 17), Agnieszka Radwanska (respectable at 13th in the world, but still not all that good), Alla Kudryavtseva (unseeded), and Monica Niculescu (also unseeded).
Flavia Pennetta was her quarterfinal opponent, which was a good win.
Kerber came in unseeded and made it to the semifinals. Much respect to the young woman from Germany.
I was rooting for her; I'm not ashamed of it.
I had every belief that she was finally going to break through and prove that she's worthy of being the top-seeded woman in the world. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Wozniacki had a very impressive run through the quarterfinals. The "never say die" style of Wozniacki was utilized to perfection for five rounds.
Serena Williams halted her in her tracks. Yet another abrupt end to Wozniacki's grand slam hopes.
Federer deserves all the credit in the world for his performance in the semis against Novak Djokovic. The problem with that statement is that this is Roger Federer, not some rookie who gave Djokovic a good game.
Federer is an experienced tennis player who had Djokovic on the ropes. He was up two sets and collapsed in the final three. His performance went from top-notch to rookie-like in between the second and third sets of that match.
Still, the run throughout the tournament after so many years of playing is impressive. Being able to hang with the young guns at age 30 is no easy task.
For the first time since 2002, Federer will not walk away with any grand slams this year.
I had half a mind to leave her off the list altogether after her purely classless acts in the championship game. She followed up her actions by ignoring the fact that she'd done them in the press conference that followed the match.
However, the only two sets she dropped in the entire open were the two against Stosur. For that, I commend Serena, especially after being out with an injury for so long.
Her run in Flushing Meadows was impressive to say the least. Her domination was well-known by anyone that saw the matches.
Unfortunately for her, her emotions cut down her chance at a 14th grand slam title.
He came so close to winning his second consecutive US Open championship.
Nadal dominated his way through Flushing Meadows to the semis, dropping only one set to Andy Murray along the way.
It's not difficult to understand why Nadal is this high on the list. He certainly dominated all of his opponents except for the champ...
The 2011 tennis player of the year came through again. He won the US Open and two other grand slams this year. He's lost two matches the entire year.
Djokovic lost four sets along the way, three of which came against Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. For the record, that fourth set was dropped to fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic, who probably deserves an Honorable Mention as the first man out of this list.
That said, Djokovic ran through the competition as he always does. His competition of speed and power was too much for everyone that stood across from him.
At only 24, Djokovic is in his prime and will be around for years to come.
After dropping only two sets en route to her first career grand slam championship, Samantha Stosur earns the title of having the best performance of 2011 in Flushing Meadows.
Every game was golden for Stosur. She made most of her returns and was very efficient in not having too many unforced errors. Until the title match, Serena Williams had had the best US Open performance.
Stosur had something to say, and she dominated Williams for the championship.
When you go through a grand slam as dominantly as Stosur did, you earn the right to say you did better than everyone else—man or woman.