Novak Djokovic missed the chance to reach 21 Grand Slam wins after Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev produced a brilliant performance to beat the world number one in straight sets
Novak Djokovic missed the chance to make history at the US Open after Daniil Medvedev spoilt his party with a dominant performance on Sunday night.
The Serbian world number one had the chance to become the first men’s singles player since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete a calendar Grand Slam, yet he was outplayed by Medvedev, losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Medvedev asserted his dominance with powerful first serves and groundstrokes, taking advantage of Djokovic, who looked weary after spending over five hours longer on court during his run to the final.
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Djokovic showed visible signs of emotion at the final change over, with tears in his eyes, as the chance of winning slipped away from him, but he still congratulated his opponent when his win was confirmed.
Medvedev has been the coming man for some time in men’s tennis, especially at the US Open, where he reached the final in 2019 and the semi-final in 2020.
However, the nature of his first Grand Slam win was still hugely impressive, beating the man who has dominated the Majors this year, winning in Melbourne, Paris and Wimbledon.
Djokovic began his quest to win all four Majors in a single year by beating Medvedev in straight sets at the Australian Open in February.
But he had shown signs of weakness en-route to the final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium by dropping the first set in five of his six matches at the tournament.
And the 34-year-old was broken in the very first service game of the match as Medvedev never looked back, controlling play with his relentless serving.
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Djokovic saved further break points in the third game, but one break was enough for the Russian, who appeared nerveless in front of a vocal American crowd.
The Serbian picked up his play in the second set, yet it slipped away from him once more as his normally trusty first serve abandoned him.
Medvedev picked up another break and, as the pressure told, Djokovic showed an emotional side, smashing his racquet to pieces on the floor.
Djokovic could not get a foothold on Medvedev’s commanding first serve and found himself two sets down after an hour and a half on court.
The third set started with Medvedev breaking serve at the first time of asking once again and he raced into a 4-0 lead before his nerves raised their head.
The Russian wasted his first match point with a double-fault and lost then his serve as the crowd roared on Djokovic, but on the second time of asking he clinched it before dropping to the floor.