Daniil Medvedev has won his first Grand Slam title and become the next Russian man to win the US Open since Marat Safin in 2000, breaking Novak Djokovic’s stranglehold on 2021 with a dazzling victory at the US Open.
Medvedev came hurtling out of the blocks on a day when the only man ahead of him in the rankings was targeting history, hitting back from 40-15 to break Djokovic, – who had won the toss and opted to serve first – in the first game, then breezing through to take the opening set 6-4 in just 36 minutes.
The tension boiled over for Djokovic, perhaps understandably, in the fourth game of the second set, when a technical glitch appeared to gift Medvedev another first serve after the score had reached deuce.
All was not well with the 20-time majors champion, whose zen calmness in his immediate pre-match interview transformed into an uncharacteristic rigidity on the court. This was his chance to clinch the Grand Slam, having won in Melbourne, Paris and London.
With Medvedev on his way to holding serve to make it 2-2 in the set, Djokovic hammered his racket to the ground three times in an act of theatrical obliteration, receiving a warning and apologizing to the crowd for his troubles.
Worse was to come when Medvedev then immediately broke him courtesy of some seamless shot-picking and threatened to do so again in Djokovic’s next service game.
Medvedev produced several stunning shots in a brutal rally to subsequently hold serve, sending Djokovic haring back and forth across the court, returning shots at full stretch in that familiar style which usually proves telling in his favor.
His opponent, this time, was ready and full of the tactical astuteness he is renowned for. Djokovic did not have enough moments of inspiration to rescue the set, losing it 6-4.
Medvedev broke immediately at the start of the third set, possibly feeling as surprised as the rest of the stadium when, at deuce in the next game, Djokovic fired a routine shot into the tape after advancing to the net when a winner seemed on.
With beads of sweat sliding from the faces of both men, everything seemed to be going Medvedev’s way.
He held serve after Djokovic had again looked menacing at the net, then won the first point of his opponent’s next service game on his way to opening up a 30-0 lead.
The result never looked in doubt until Medvedev had championship point at 5-2.
His nerves took hold, the celebrity-crammed crowd threw their verbal weight behind Djokovic, and a glimpse of one of those dramatic comebacks the Serb can pull off was briefly visible with the break.
An emotional-looking Djokovic could not summon more heroics on his next return of service. Medvedev, deservedly, added his name to Marat Safin’s in 2000, and Russia, at last, has another male US Open champion.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2021.