Sunday, September 12, 2021

Daniil denies Djokovic's bid for calendar-year Slam

   A formidable opponent, fatigue and pressure were too much for Novak Djokovic.
   No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev outclassed the top-ranked Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 today in the U.S. Open for his first Grand Slam title.
   Djokovic fell one victory short of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to earn a calendar-year Grand Slam. Laver, 83, attended the final in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Djokovic, 34, also remained tied with Roger Federer, 40, and Rafael Nadal, 35, with a record 20 major singles titles.
   Medvedev, a 25-year-old Russian, had been 0-2 in Grand Slam finals and 0-2 against Djokovic in majors. 
   "You never know if you're going to achieve (winning a major) in your career," Medvedev, who improved to 4-5 against Djokovic with four wins in their last six meetings, told reporters. "I was always saying, if I don't, I just want to know that I did my best to do it."
   Djokovic was coming off a draining, five-set victory over No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev, who ended Djokovic's bid for a Golden Slam in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics en route to the gold medal, on Friday and lost the first set for the fifth consecutive match. 
   Medvedev, meanwhile, lost only one set in his seven matches, to qualifier Botic Van De Zandschulp of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
   Medvedev has a tremendous combination of size (6-foot-6 or 1.98 meters) and quickness. He pounded 16 aces to Djokovic's six and saved five of six break points. Djokovic ripped 27 winners and committed 38 unforced errors.
   Djokovic told the crowd that, despite the loss, "I'm the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special. You guys touched my soul. I've never felt like this in New York."
   Medvedev broke serve twice to lead 3-0 in the third set and held for 4-0. Serving for the title at 5-2, he double-faulted twice in a row, once on championship point, and was broken on an error.
   After Djokovic held for 4-5, Medvedev double-faulted on his second championship point but converted his third with a service winner.
   In the opening set, Medvedev won all 15 points on his first serve. Early in the second set, Djokovic smashed his racket on the court in frustration.
   In the women's doubles final, No. 14 seeds Samantha Stosur, 37, of Australia and Zhang Shuai, 32, of China beat No. 11 seeds Coco Gauff, 17, of Delray Beach, Fla., and Catherine McNally, 19, of Cincinnati,  6-3, 3-6, 6-3 for their 11th consecutive victory.
   Stosur claimed the first of her four Grand Slam women's doubles titles in the 2005 U.S. Open with since-retired Lisa Raymond. Zhang won her only other major women's doubles crown with Stosur in the 2019 Australian Open.
   Zhang reached the singles quarterfinals in San Jose last month, defeating Emma Raducanu 6-3, 6-2 in the first round. 
   WTA Tour — No. 3 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt defeated No. 4 seed Martina Trevisan of Italy 6-3, 6-2 to win the $125,000 Liqy Moly Open on clay in Karlsruhe, Germany. 
   In the doubles final, No. 4 seeds Irina Bara of Romania and Ekaterine Gorgodze of Georgia topped No. 3 seeds Katarzyna Piter of Poland and Sherif 6-3, 2-6 [10-7].

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