Medvedev stuns Djokovic, wins US Open
NEW YORK: Daniil Medvedev won the U.S. Open on Sunday, just a stone's throw from the bright lights of Broadway, and denied Novak Djokovic a rare calendar-year Grand Slam.
The Russian won the year's final major 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, but the straight-sets victory was anything but routine, as Medvedev had to grit his teeth and battle through cramp to finish the match, keeping the pain hidden to avoid giving Djokovic the scent of blood.
"I started cramping at 5-3, I think because of the pressure at 5-2 where I had match points, I didn't make it," he told reporters. "After 5-3, my legs were gone. At 5-4, left leg, I almost couldn't walk."
"If you watch the replay closely, you'll notice that when I walked to the towel, my leg was just going behind. I was trying not to show it. If Novak senses it, it's not good."
Medvedev had only dropped one set on his way to the final and had ripped through his first four matches in under two hours, determined to finally get his hands on a Grand Slam trophy.
He came close here two years ago, losing in the final after a five-set thriller against Rafa Nadal.
However, he was widely regarded as the underdog when he arrived at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, having lost in straight sets to Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
"For the confidence and for my future career, knowing that I beat somebody who was 27-0 in a year in Grand Slams, I lost to him in Australia, he was going for huge history, and knowing that I managed to stop him definitely makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what is to come on hard courts," he said.
"However, let's see what other surfaces have to say."
He had enough left in the tank to serve up a unique victory pose, flopping to his side in a "dead fish celebration" with his tongue sticking out, a move the avid gamer said he learned from a FIFA video game.
"I wanted to make it special for people to love, for my friends to love who I play FIFA with," Medvedev said, admitting that the move might have been better attempted on a different surface.
"I got a little hurt. It's not easy to succeed on hard courts."
The move delighted the raucous New York crowd, which had booed and whistled as Medvedev served in the eighth and tenth games, hoping to see Djokovic go the distance and refusing to quiet down despite the chair umpire's request.
"It was unquestionably difficult. It was definitely difficult. I can't put it any other way. "I realized that the only thing I could do was the focus," Medvedev explained.
"I definitely made some double-faults as a result of it." That makes it even sweeter that I finally managed to pass the first serve on the third match point."
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency