Daniil Medvedev shattered Novak Djokovic’s dream at the Grand Slam by defeating the world number one in Sunday’s US Open final, denying him a record 21 major men’s singles titles.
Russia’s second-ranked Medvedev dominated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to avoid the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1969 and keep Djokovic on par with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop the list of Slam titles of his career.
Medvedev, the 2019 US Open runner-up, captured his first Grand Slam title in his third Slam final, a rematch of the February Australian Open final, won in straight sets by the 34-year-old Serbian to launch his quest for Slam.
Djokovic’s attempt to sweep the US, French and Australian Opens and Wimbledon in the same year for the first time since Rod Laver did it 52 years ago collapsed at the last hurdle, with 83-year-old Australian legend Laver. among 23,700 spectators at Arthur Ashe. Stadium.
Djokovic missed his fourth US Open title and will enter 2022 tied with “Big Three” rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries, in a historic record of 20 men’s Slam titles.
Instead of joining the immortal Laver and Don Budge, who completed the first men’s Slam in 1938, Djokovic became the third man to fall in the final match attempting to complete the Slam after Australians Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956.
Medvedev, 25, became the third Russian to win a Grand Slam title after Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the 1996 French Open and the 1999 Australian Open and Marat Safin at the 2000 US Open and the 2005 Australian Open.
Fight from the start
In the biggest of 1,176 games of Djokovic’s career, he made two unforced forehand errors to allow Medvedev a break in the first game.
Djokovic saved two break points to hold the third game, but Medvedev held on to take the first set in 36 minutes, facing no break point.
It was the fifth consecutive match in which Djokovic lost the first set.
Medvedev lost just three points on his serve in the first set, but lost that many to open his first service game in the second.
Djokovic, however, blew his first three break points of the match and Medvedev kept it 1-1.
Medvedev hit a wide backhand to give Djokovic a break opportunity in the fourth game, but he landed a forehand volley and then drew back his racket in anger as if to crush the ball.
After missing a forehand on the next point, Djokovic broke his racket and on the next he delivered a long backhand while Medvedev held at 2-2, the pressure clearly hitting the Serb.
In Game 5, Djokovic misfired a backhand volley to give Medvedev a break and a 3-2 lead and the Russian held out three times to claim the set, Djokovic hitting a wide backhand to deliver the final point.
Medvedev broke again to start the third set when Djokovic sent a long backhand and again in the third game when a missed volley seemed to signal the end of the Slam chase.
Djokovic stayed in love in the fifth game, but Medvedev stayed again at 5-1 and served for the match in the eighth game.
Medvedev double-faulted on championship point and again, then scored a forehand to deliver a break that kept Djokovic in the game. The crowd cheered his counterattack, feeling a change of momentum.
Serving again for the match at 5-4, Medvedev double-faulted on his second match point, but finally overcame the line on his third chance with a winning serve after two hours and 16 minutes.