Daniil Medvedev has claimed his first ever grand slam title and in the process has denied Novak Djokovic an historic calendar slam.
Djokovic was on the cusp of being the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim all 4 majors in the one year but he was comprehensively outplayed by the world number 2. Medvedev became the 6th different winner of the US Open in the past 8 years in the one slam that has defied the dominance of the big 3.
The past 8 years has also seen 11 different men contest the US Open final. Medvedev’s title is the first by a Russian male since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open and he was clearly the tournament’s most dominant player.
Djokovic was again slow out of the blocks and was broken in the opening game despite leading 40-15 and at no stage did he gain a significant grip on the contest.
Medvedev would serve the lights out early, only dropping 3 points for the entire first set on his own serve. The first set went his way 6-4, marking the fifth straight match in which Djokovic had dropped the opening set.
Medvedev saved break points at 1-2 in the second set before breaking again to lead 3-2 himself. From 5-4, 40-0 he survived a couple of jitters to take the second 6-4.
Djokovic had overhauled a 2 set deficit against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open final but thoughts of that faded when he was immediately broken to start the third. Medvedev broke again and led 4-0 with the match firmly in his keeping.
He held a match point at 5-2, 40-30 but after a brief hold up as the chair umpire tried to calm the raucous crowd he double faulted and was eventually broken. Two more match points came at 5-4, 40-15 with the Russian again double faulting on the first, before clinching the title as Djokovic netted his return.
Medvedev is only the fifth man to defeat Djokovic in a major final (Federer, Nadal, Murray, Wawrinka) and only the second player to defeat Djokovic in straight sets of a grand slam final since 2012.
Djokovic was the favourite coming in but it is hard to argue Medvedev wasn’t the superior player over the 2 weeks. The world number 2 dropped just one set for the tournament compared to Djokovic who dropped 9. He struck 86 aces and won 81% of points on first serve.
He also outplayed Djokovic from the baseline which is a very rare thing. Medvedev apologised for being the “spoiler” and spoke glowingly of his Serbian opponent
“I never said this to anybody, but I’ll say it right now. You are the greatest player in tennis history” he said.
Djokovic leaves with a heavy heart as history just escapes him, but it was a magical run that swept up the local crowd.
“You guys touched my soul, I’ve never felt like this in New York”
Djokovic remains tied with Federer and Nadal on 20 career slam titles.
Listen to The First Serve with Brett Phillips and Sam Groth wrapping up the US Open tonight at 7pm AEST on 1116AM SEN Melbourne, 1629AM SEN SA / replayed at 8pm AEST on 1170am Sydney or listen live and catch up on the SEN App.
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