ATP World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and the New York Giants had more in common than just playing in metro NYC late on Sunday afternoon – for both now have history as ending an undefeated run.
Much like Eli Manning’s Giants ended the Patriots’ bid for an undefeated season in 2007-08, Medvedev ended World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s bid for a Grand Slam with straight-sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win in the finals of the U.S. Open on Sunday.
The match was closer than the score indicated, at least for the first two sets, as Medvedev picked up key breaks in both while staving off five break points for Djokovic to go up two sets to love. Medvedev then turned it on early in the third, breaking Djokovic in his first two service games and holding his first three to go up 5-1.
Djokovic then held and Medvedev served a championship point at 5-2, but he double-faulted and Djokovic finally broke in a game where Medvedev double-faulted three times total. The World No. 1 then held for 5-4, and in the final game, Medvedev went up 40-15 for two more championship points; he double-faulted on the first, but as Rod Laver, the last man to win a Grand Slam back in 1969, looked on, a wide serve forced a Djokovic backhand into the net to end the match in just over two hours.
And so, in the end, much like that 2007 Giants team, Medvedev got his revenge in a rematch – just as the Pats had defeated the Giants 38-35 in the regular-season finale, Djokovic had defeated Medvedev in straight sets in the finals of the Australian Open back in February.
The U.S. Open title is Medvedev’s fourth of 2021 – he had previously won in Melbourne, Marseilles, and Mallorca this season – and his first Grand Slam in three tries; he lost to Djokovic in the Australian, and lost to Rafael Nadal at the 2019 U.S. Open in his first Grand Slam final. Before 2021, the U.S. Open was the only major where Medvedev had even reached the quarterfinals.
For Djokovic, the loss means will not be the first man since Laver and first person since Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988 to win all four majors in a calendar year, and his 20 Grand Slam titles remains tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most ever. He had already been denied a chance at the Golden Slam after losing in the Olympic semifinals to Alexander Zverev – whom he vanquished in five sets in the U.S. Open semis – and then lost out on a medal by losing to Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal match.
Earlier this weekend, though, the U.S. Open did see three grand slams completed in overall competition, as Diede de Groot (wheelchair women’s singles), Dylan Alcott (wheelchair quad singles), and the pair of Alfie Hewitt and Gordon Reid (wheelchair men’s doubles) all won their respective events to complete 2021 sweeps. The win was actually the fifth Open in a row for Hewitt and Reid and their eighth major in a row, beginning at the 2019 U.S.
Open (Wimbledon was not contested last year).
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