US Open: Men and Women Moving in Opposite Directions

With three very familiar faces in Rafael - for better or for worse.

On the men's side, the final was one that most tennis fans have come to expect with world's No. 1 and No. 2 competitors facing off against each other with the increasingly more common occurrence of Djokovic emerging the victor.

Without question, the Serbian superstar is the best player in the world and he appears to be the only man in the world who can not only beat Nadal but make the Spaniard look like he doesn't even belong on the same court with him.

With the exception of the third set where Nadal's trademark grit willed him into a fourth, Djokovic utterly dominated him and actually looked like he was toying with the 10-time Grand Slam champion, punishing him with repeated ground strokes to his backhand side before finishing him off with either a massive winner going to the other side or sneaking in a drop shot that even Nadal's speed couldn't catch up to.

Even more impressive is how he attacked Nadal's serve, breaking him 11 times, a staggering statistic considering Nadal was broken only five times in the entirety of the 2010 U.S. Open.

The victory now puts Djokovic in elite company as he's only the sixth man in the Open Era to capture three Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year, joining the likes of Federer, Nadal, Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors and Mats Wilander.

The win also opens up the question of whether Djokovic could become the greatest men's player of all time. After all, even though Federer holds the record of 16 Grand Slams there are many who would argue the fact that Nadal historically has the Swiss sensation's number, that he can't be considered the best ever and that "Rafa" should be considered the greatest instead.

So, by that logic, because Djokovic has dominated Nadal, the conversation of tennis' all-time greatest should shift to him. Granted, this all depends on Djokovic continuing the torrid pace he set this year into the next one but considering how there's no evidence to suggest he will slow down, catching up to Nadal's 10 Slams might not be so farfetched.

You know it's a glorious era men's tennis is in right now when the three best in the world are also being argued to be the three greatest players of all time and the shine they've brought upon the sport has made many American tennis fans forget about the fact that there hasn't been a great American champion since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.

This same luster has also helped to mask how poor the women's tour has become -- a fact that couldn't be hidden under the bright lights of this year's women's U.S. Open final.

Making her fifth U.S. Open Final, 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was in the process of going through yet another career renaissance by completely obliterating the competition on her way to the final. All that stood in her way was Samantha Stosur, an opponent whose world ranking was higher but on paper still seemed to be a little overmatched when compared to Williams.

However, the reality of the situation proved to be much different as Stosur dominated Williams, winning in straight sets and, most prominently, taking advantage of an inaccurate first serve from Williams to jump on her second serve and really punish her to win 5-of-9 break opportunities.

As great as the win was, though, unfortunately the 2011 U.S. Open women's final will be remembered for a different reason -- Williams' little temper tantrum.

Deliberately yelling right before Stosur could make contact with the ball violated the rules and the point penalty Williams suffered as a result was the right call. For her to go off on chair umpire Eva Asderaki was unprofessional and down-right embarrassing for both her and the sport itself.

It was only two years ago, the last time she participated in the U.S. Open, that Williams decided to go off on multiple officials and earned herself a series of fines -- ones that served as only a slap on the wrist, and a two- year probationary period that cautioned to not behave in such a manner again, otherwise she'd be suspended from the following U.S. Open.

It seemed like her recent actions were cause for this probation to show its teeth but, instead, all she got was a $2,000 fine from the USTA - or in other words, no punishment at all because of who she is.

All those involved in women's tennis should be ashamed of this pedestrian punitive action because it speaks to how weak the women's tour is right now. Tennis is a sport that relies on star power and, right now, the WTA is lacking in it. The most recognizable names are all stars of yesteryear, including Williams.

The reality is women's tennis really needs its No. 1 player, Caroline Wozniacki, to start winning majors. The majority of sports fans only tune into tennis when the major championships are being played and even though she's a fabulous player on tour, because she can't get it done when the lights shine the brightest there's confusion as to why she's considered the best player in the world.

If Wozniacki could finally break her Grand Slam drought and other youngsters like this year's Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and the revitalized Maria Sharapova could become consistent with their results, a talent pool of recognizable names could begin to be created and all of those in control of women's tennis won't find it necessary to make a special exception to a player like Williams.