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Djokovic returns triumphantly to New York with fourth U.S. Open crown

Novak Djokovic captured the 24th Grand Slam title of his career — and fourth at the U.S. Open — on Sunday evening in New York City.

Djokovic, who lost to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the 2021 U.S. Open final at Flushing Meadows, engineered a 360-degree turn from that result with a 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 defeat of the world No. 3. The soon-to-be world No. 1 triumphed after three hours and 16 minutes.

Although it was a straight-set scoreline, that match was not entirely without drama. A wild second lasted lasted a ridiculous hour and 44 minutes, during which Medvedev had a chance to level the match at a set apiece. Djokovic had opportunities in the set, as well, but the Russian probably should have won it. With a set point as Djokovic served at 5-6, Medvedev got a look at a somewhat routine passing shot but chose to go cross-court instead of down the line. That gave the 36-year-old a look at an easy volley, which he deposited into the open court for a winner. Djokovic proceeded to hold and force a tiebreaker, and in typical Djokovic he won yet another ‘breaker to take complete control of the match.

The Serb had little trouble clinching victory in the third set.

“What probably made the difference and the key of the match was second set–almost two hours,” Djokovic assessed. “I don’t think I have ever played a longer set in my life, particularly not on this occasion against a top player like Daniil.

“I think he was probably a better player in the second set. He deserved to win that set more than I did. Somehow I managed to turn things around in the tiebreak. When it mattered I put one ball into play more than he did. And that was enough.

“After that, I regained my energy.”

Djokovic missed the U.S. Open last summer because of Covid-19 restrictions. He had not triumphed in New York since 2018.

As for Medvedev, his chance for a second major title fell by the wayside.

“(I have) regrets, for sure,” the 27-year-old said. “(I) should have won it; should have won it. But sometimes tennis (is) not that easy. [I should have hit the passing shot] for sure down the line, not cross, but I have two choices and I chose the wrong one.

“In general, yeah, (the) second set was the best set I played and I didn’t win it. First and third he was kind of better and not much to say. Second if I would win it, maybe could have been a different game…. Yeah, that’s how life is and tennis is. So I’m going to try to be better next time.”