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US Open men’s final: Daniil Medvedev shocks Novak Djokovic, ending his Grand Slam bid




Daniil Medvedev dominated Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, to win the men’s singles title at the 2021 US Open. With the victory, Medvedev spoiled Djokovic’s attempt to become the first man in 52 years to win all four majors – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – the same year, also known as the calendar year. Grand Slam. This is Medvedev’s first Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic was trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Grand Slam. Only five players in tennis history have won all four Grand Slam tournaments in a calendar year: Steffi Graf (1988), Margaret Court (1970), Maureen Connolly (1953), Don Budge (1938) and Laver (1962, 1969). Serena Williams came close in 2015, but was bowled over by Roberta Vinci in the US Open semifinals. Winning all four majors in a single calendar year of tennis is rare and may not happen again.

With Sunday’s victory, Medvedev also reduced Djokovic’s chance (at least, this season) of overtaking rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the all-time men’s Grand Slam singles title record. Now Djokovic will end this tennis season still tied with his “big three” competitors at 20 Grand Slam titles each. Djokovic, the youngest of the “Big Three” at 34, has won eight of his 20 major championships in the past three years. Nadal (35) and Federer (40) both missed this year’s US Open tournament with injuries. Djokovic, however, equaled Federer for the most Grand Slam finals in history with 31.

“I would like to say that tonight, even though I didn’t win the match, my heart is filled with joy and I am the happiest man in the world because you made me feel very special on the pitch “said Djokovic after the loss, fighting back tears. “I never felt this in New York.”

Medvedev got off to a dominant start in the championship game. His first and second serves were incredible and the only time Djokovic, one of the best returlers in the world, managed to break him was 5-3 in the third set. With his impressive speed on hard ground – he’s arguably the fastest on tour right now – Medvedev apparently hit every ball, which left Djokovic scrambling to pick up the pieces after a few dropshots Medvedev managed to hit. . Djokovic, perhaps tired or stunned by nerves, seemed slow early in the game. It emerged that Medvedev had made serious preparations after the couple last met at the Australian Open earlier this year in February, where Djokovic dominated.

Defeated 4-0 in the third set, Djokovic rallied to bring it to 5-4. Medvedev missed his first league point at 5-2, 40-30, then lost another by double fault. But, he regained his composure and released the tension to finally win the match on his third chance two games later. Medvedev finished the game with 16 aces, 38 winners and an 81 winning percentage on his first serve.

“It’s the first time I’ve been so nervous delivering my speech,” Medvedev said at the post-match trophy ceremony. “Sorry for you fans and Novak because we all know what he wanted to do today.”

“To me you are the greatest tennis player in history,” Medvedev told Djokovic.

It turned out to be true that the third time is a charm, at least for 25-year-old Medvedev. Playing only his third career Grand Slam final, Medvedev became the first player of his generation to defeat one of the “Big Three” legends in a Grand Slam final. He is also only the second player born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam title in men’s singles after Dominic Thiem (born 1993) defeated Alexander Zverev for the 2020 US Open title.

On the women’s side, there are three players born in the 2000s who have already won a Grand Slam title in women’s singles; The 2020 US Open of Bianca Andreescu (born in 2000), the 2020 French Open of Iga witek (2001) and the 2021 US Open of Emma Raducanu (2002). Medvedev and Raducanu became the first pair of US Open Grand Slam singles champions since Pete Sampras and Gabriela Sabatini in 1990.

Medvedev had previously lost to Nadal in the 2019 US Open final and to Djokovic in the Australian Open in February this year. Since that last meeting in Melbourne, Medvedev took over the world No.2 and became the second man other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray since 2005 to occupy the place.

Djokovic, for his part, had managed to overcome earlier threats from “Next Gen” players this season, beating Medvedev in the Australian Open final, Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Roland Garros final and Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final, but got into trouble with Medvedev’s impressive serve in the final. New York this year. It should also be noted that Medvedev arrived in this final a little cooler than Djokovic, benefiting from an easier draw and having only spent 11 hours and 51 minutes in the field to reach the final, up from 17 hours and 26 minutes for Djokovic.

In a thrilling semi-final match on Thursday, Djokovic outlasted world number 4 Alexander Zverev of Germany – who knocked him out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and at the time, ended his candidacy for a Golden Slam – in five sets to reach the final. This match included a 53-stroke rally, the longest in this year’s US Open and in Djokovic’s career. Medvedev, meanwhile, beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2, on Thursday to reach the final. The Russian has done a quick job of his competition throughout the tournament, losing just one set throughout, making Medvedev the first man since Nadal in 2010 and the second since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to lose only just one set on the way to a US Open title.

Road to the final

R1: def. Holger Rune, 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1
R2: final. Greek track of Tallon, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2
R3: beats Kei Nishikori, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
R4: def. Jenson Brooksby, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
QF: def. N ° 6 Matteo Berrettini, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
SF: def. No.4 Alexander Zverev, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

R1: def. Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
R2: def. Dominik Koepfer, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2
R3: def. Pablo Andjar, 6-0, 6-4, 6-3
R4: def. # 24 Dan Evans, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
QF: final. Botic van de Zandschulp, 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5
SF: def. N ° 12 Félix Auger-Aliassime, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2

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