Novak Djokovic shows a rare glimpse of vulnerability in US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev

Novak Djokovic’s quest for the clean sweep of Grand Slams in a calendar year at the US Open was ended abruptly by Daniil Medvedev as the Russian won his first major in his third final appearance.

Medvedev was a class apart from the outset of a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win against a slightly subdued Djokovic, who admitted he was “below part with my game” in the aftermath.

The world No2 said: “Everything that happens for the first time is special. There’s a lot of happiness. That’s my first Grand Slam, I don’t know how I’m going to feel if I win a second one or third one. That’s my first one – it means a lot to me.”

In the process, Medvedev became only the second man born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam – Dominic Thiem achieving the feat at the same event.

In Thiem’s case, there were none of the big three to beat making Medvedev’s feat all the more impressive as it appeared the enormity of what was at stake finally appeared to take its toll on a normally unflappable Djokovic.

But in his quest for a 28th straight Grand Slam singles win, he came up short, in the process just missing out on the outright record of a 21st major win.

The Serbian’s game was beset by uncharacteristic errors as Medvedev deservedly broke and won the first set. Losing the opening set has become something of an unwanted trademark in New York for Djokovic in recent days, each time followed by the usual comeback.

This time, it wasn’t forthcoming, not just because Djokovic was out of sorts but because Medvedev’s big serve and heavy hitting effectively annulled his opponent.

The match ended in bizarre fashion when the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium got fully behind the world No1, cheering sufficiently to reduce him to tears.

Often painted as the pantomime villain alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, he admitted the support in some way helped cancel out the pain of defeat.

“I felt something I never felt in my life here in New York,” he said. “The crowd made me feel very special. They pleasantly surprised me. The amount of support and energy and love I got from the crowd was something that I’ll remember forever.”



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