Novak Djokovic continued to add to his ever-evolving tennis legacy with a 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final on Sunday, bringing home his 24th Major title in the process.
Unlike their meeting there two years ago which saw Medvedev take home his first (and to-date only) Slam title, there were no nerves from Djokovic on this day as he controlled the greater part of the match to claim his fourth career title in Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic came out firing on all cylinders, quickly holding and then breaking for a 2-0 lead in the opening set. He raced through the rest of the set looking sharp in all aspects of his game, particularly at the net, as he took the opener 6-3.
In the second set Medvedev upped his effort and his footspeed increased while Djokovic seemed to tire which led to the tightest set of the match that lasted one hour and 44 minutes. The World No. 3 held a break point when Djokovic served at 3-4 but could not capitalize.
The points were becoming increasingly grueling and things culminated with a tiebreak. After back-to-back epic points to see the pair locked at 5-5, Medvedev played the next two a bit too loosely allowing Djokovic the two set to love lead.
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Djokovic could sense he was approaching the finish line and broke his opponent early on in the third set. While Medvedev did manage his only break of the match in the next game, that was as much opposition as he would muster. Djokovic took the match on a Medvedev forehand into the net and tears of joy quickly appeared in his eyes as he soaked in the moment.
“It obviously means the world to me,” Djokovic said after the match in his post-match address to the crowd. “I’m kind of repeating myself but I have to say it every time: I’m really living my childhood dream to compete at the highest level in the sport that has given me and my family so much. Coming from very difficult circumstances and adversities, during the 90s, a couple of wars in our country, and being able to push through. Especially for my parents, giving a lot of sacrifice to support me to play. I love you so much.”
For the fourth time in his career, Djokovic has captured three of the four majors in a season and also made the finals of all of them as well for the third time. He returns to the No. 1 ranking Monday and will continue to add to his already record-setting achievement of 389 weeks at that position on the ATP Tour.
Rest of the Field
Despite having a lackluster summer hard court season, Medvedev found his game in New York, making his way to his fifth major final and defeated defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals. While many were expecting and anticipating another Alcaraz vs Djokovic final, Medvedev played terrific tennis to beat the 20-year-old.
It was almost shocking that Alcaraz was unable to make his way to the finals. With the way he and Djokovic elevated the sport once again when they met for the title in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago, tennis fans and media pundits alike felt they were destined to meet yet again. Medvedev clearly had other ideas in store.
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This year’s installment of the US Open was definitely a positive one for American tennis players on the men’s side. Four men made it to the round of sixteen and three remained in the quarter-finals.
It was no surprise to see both Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz make it to that stage, as both have been delivering consistent results over the last two years.
20-year-old Ben Shelton was the more surprising one of the group, as he made his second Slam quarter-final, delivering regular 140+ mph serves throughout the event, but had been struggling with consistency since the Aussie Open in January.
Another player who definitely elevated their game from previous summer hard court results was Andrey Rublev who went 0-2 in the Toronto and Cincy back-to-back but made the ninth major quarter-final of his career. He has still yet to get past that stage and fell at the hands of his friend and compatriot Medvedev in straight sets.
It was slim pickings for the Canadian men in singles competition as both Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic fell in the opening round.
For Felix, it was a continuation of a very challenging year that has seen him lose eight of his last ten matches on Tour. The 23-year-old says he’s healthy at least, but the wins have been hard to attain and he’s about to enter a stretch of the year where he has tournament-winning points to defend at three events this Fall.
Raonic for his part was only playing in his fourth tournament since returning to the ATP after a two-year absence and he had the unenviable task of facing seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in his first-round match who dispatched him in straight sets. Raonic plans to play some of the Asian Fall events followed by Vienna and the Paris Masters so his comeback is very much alive!
In Doubles, the third-seeded duo of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury captured the title with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden. There wasn’t much separating the two teams in this one, in fact the vanquished duo of Bopanna and Ebden took 81 points compared to 80 for the victors. Toronto tennis fans will recall Ram and Salisbury making the finals of the NBO earlier this summer.