NEW YORK – Daniil Medvedev shattered Novak Djokovic’s Grand Slam dream with a straight sets victory in the US Open final, denying the world number one a record-breaking 21st major men’s singles title.
Russia’s second-ranked Medvedev dominated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to prevent the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1969 and keep Djokovic level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop the career Slam title list.
“Sorry for you fans and Novak because we all know what he was going for,” Medvedev said.
“What you have accomplished in your career… for me, you are the greatest tennis player in the history.”
Medvedev, the 2019 US Open runner-up, captured his first Grand Slam title in his third Slam final, a rematch of February’s Australian Open final, won in straight sets by the 34-year-old Serbian to launch his Slam quest.
“Congratulations to Daniil. Amazing match,” Djokovic said. “If there’s anyone that deserves a Grand Slam title right now, it’s you.”
Djokovic’s bid 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 Aussie legend Laver among 23,700 watching at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Djokovic missed out on his fourth US Open title and will enter 2022 tied with “Big Three” rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries, on an all-time record 20 men’s Slam titles.
A tearful Djokovic paid tribute to the crowd that roared support for him even when all seemed lost down two sets and two breaks.
“Even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I’m the happiest man alive because you guys have made me feel special on the court,” Djokovic said.
“You guys touch my soul. I’ve never felt like this in New York.”
Instead of joining immortals Laver and Don Budge, who completed the first men’s Slam in 1938, Djokovic became the third man to fall at the final match attempting to complete the Slam after Australians Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956.
Djokovic saw his 27-match Slam win streak halted three shy of the record he set in 2015 and 2016 when he won four consecutive Slams, ending with the 2016 French Open.
Medvedev, 25, became the third Russian man to win a Grand Slam title after Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the 1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open and Marat Safin at the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open.
Stosur, Zhang win doubles title
Experience triumphed over youth as Australian Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai of China beat Americans Coco Gauff and Caty McNally 6-3 3-6 6-3 in a tightly fought US Open women’s doubles final.
The duo, who also won together at the Australian Open in 2019, produced a near-flawless first set with just two unforced errors, compared to 10 from Gauff and McNally, who were competing in their first-ever Grand Slam final.
The teenagers kept their cool in the second set and Gauff set up a break point opportunity in the eighth game with a superb forehand winner to cap a 10-shot rally that drew cheers from the New York crowd, before converting and holding their next service game to close out the set.
But Stosur, who won her first Grand Slam doubles title at Flushing Meadows 16 years ago, and Zhang recovered in the third, fending off both break points and dropping only three first-serve points to close out the match.
“It was just such a tight tussle the whole match, a few points here and there. We stuck together as a team, played aggressive, went for it as we always do, and it pays off,” said Stosur.
The 37-year-old, who also won the US Open singles title a decade ago, offered enormous credit to their opponents, after an emotional Gauff — two decades her junior — confessed that the first autograph she collected was from the Australian.
“We were playing again a couple of youngsters who even though, they’re so young, but they’ve got quite a bit of experience,” said Stosur.
“They just play fearless. Credit to them. I think they’re a really great team. Again, no doubt they’re going to be back in situations like this, challenging for titles. Not just yet, not today.”
It was a rare instance of experience triumphing over youth at this year’s US Open, where 18-year-old Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title after beating 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the women’s singles final.
Raducanu, ranked 150th, was the first British woman in 44 years to win a Slam crown after dispatching 73rd-ranked left-hander Fernandez 6-4, 6-3.
Not since Virginia Wade in 1977 at Wimbledon had a British woman taken a Slam singles title, with Raducanu the first Briton to claim the US Open crown since Wade in 1968.
Wade and British men’s tennis legend Tim Henman were among a sellout crowd of 23,700 that created an electric atmosphere at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first-ever women’s Slam final between unseeded players.
The showdown of prodigy talents was the first all-teen Slam final since 17-year-old Serena Williams beat 18-year-old Martina Hingis for the 1999 US Open crown.