By Dan Cancian For Mailonline
Published: | Updated:
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Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 5-5 Djokovic
Medvedev is on the front foot here and he looks by far the fresher of the two players as he wins the opening point.
Djokovic hits back with a commanding smash to level the score after forcing Medvedev back beyond the baseline and then wheels out a superb passing cross court shot just when the Russian looked to be having all the momentum.
Djokovic’s first serve remains erratic, but his serve and volley is anything but and he takes a 40-15 lead with a low volley. He’s won 19 of 21 points at the net so far in this match, but an unforced error keeps Medvedev alive.
His serve comes to life at the right time, as he holds serve and then has some words for his box. I don’t speak Serb, but I doubt he was being too complimentary.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 5-4 Djokovic
Medvedev holds to love in just over two mins and Djokovic will serve to stay in the set.
The Serb doesn’t look entirely comfortable out there, but then again who would be running around in oppressing heat at the tender age of 36?
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 4-4 Djokovic
That is sensatioinal from Djokovic. He pins Medvedev back and then places a delicate cross-court volley to save the break point and then demands some love from the Arthur Ashe crowd, which eventually arrives.
The Serb is pumped up and after a long rally, he comes forward again to win another point as his volley hangs on the net just enough to take pace off the ball and make it impossible for Medvedev to reach it.
And the he holds serve! What a tremendous game. Medvedev’s backhand finds the net and Djokovic roars like a man who know he’s just avoived some huge trouble.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 4-3 Djokovic
That was all a bit bizarre from Djokovic. Mind games? Or is he really struggling? Who knows.
Meanwhile, he returns to serve and volley for the eighth time in this match to go 15-0 up, but then slams a forehand into the net.
Medvedev fails to seize the moment with another unforced error, which is followed by a tame backhand into the net. Djokovic’s first double-fault of the match extends the game and Medvedev is level after coming forward superbly to hammer a running forehand down the line with his opponent rooted on his spot.
Djokovic seems to be moving gingerly, but Medvedev makes a mess of his return with a wild cross-court forehand, only for the Serb to double-fault again! Can the Russian create a break point chance?
He cannot, as Djokovic comes forward and forces his opponent to slam a defensive shot into the net. Another deuce follows as Djokovic’s cross-court forehand goes begging.
The Serb lands a booming first serve, which is called back much to his displeasure. Medvedev surges forward and smashes Djokovic’s lob to set up his first break point of the match!
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 4-3 Djokovic
Djokovic has now won 10 of the last 11 points that have gone over nine shots, which is a major proiblem with Medvedev. And this is a beauty, as the No2 seeds drops his left hand off the racket to play a lovely drop shot down the line to take the lead.
Medvedev answers with two beauties of his own – a booming running forehand down the line and a cross-court forehand from almost exactly the same spot.
Djokovic is aggressive on his opponent’s second serve and keeps the game alive as his forehand bounces just in, before Medvedev sees a tired forehand slam into the net for a deuce.
Another mammoth rally follows and Medvedev overhits his backhand. Djokovic has a breakpoint, which the Russian saves with a booming bit of serve and volley.
A 17-shot rally follow and ends with Djokovic almost falling over for apparently no reason. He recovers to return serve well but he’s again on the floor and gasping for air after Medvedev wins a 31-shot rally.
Djokovic picks himself up and then some, with a superb cross-court backhand for a fourth deuce, but his target is badly off as he drags a forehand way wide and Medvedev holds with an ace.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 3-3 Djokovic
Djokovic races into a 30-0 lead, the second point coming as he quickly adjusts his feet to drive a backhand into the corner after Medvev’s cross-court shot hit the top of the net.
The Serb comes forward again to win a 12th point at the net, before holding to love for the third straight game.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 3-2 Djokovic
Medvedev brings up his nith unforced error of the set as he miscues a forehand wide. He then brings up his 10th as he plants a backhand beyond the baseline, but bounces back with an excellent first serve.
It’s then Djokovic’s turn to send a backhand out and Medvedev suddenly leads 40-30. And he holds serve with an ace.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 2-2 Djokovic
Medvedev sends a forehand just wide as Djokovic’s first serve continues to be a bit hit and miss. Another 27-shoit rally follows, before the two players exchange volleys at the net and Djokovic comes out top, much to the delight of the crowd.
The Serbian’s next serve elicits a return from Medvedev that smashes into the net, before a classic bit of serve and volley sees him hold to love for the second straight game.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 2-1 Djokovic
Medvedev is in a hurry here, as he draws two unforced errors from Djokovic, but ultimately has to surrender to the Serb’s superb return.
The Russian has been doing a lot of running so far in this match and he may have to do some more after playing a horrible slice shot wide.
He compounds the mistake by overhitting a forehand, but his first serve comes to the rescue at the perfect time as he holds serve.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 1-1 Djokovic
Djokovic wins the first point, before another long rally ends with Medvedev squandering a good chance as he overhits a shot. He then follows it up with a brilliant cross-court passing backhand, which is just wide.
Djokovic comes forward, Medvedev’s forehand is overhit and the Serb holds to love for the first time in the match.
Second set: Medvedev 3-6, 1-0 Djokovic
Medvedev atones for another slow start with a good first serve, with Djokovic failing to keep his return in.
The Russian makes another unforced error, before roaring back with two brutal smashes after forcing Djokovic further back in the court.
But he’s again his own worst enemy, as another double-fault prevents him from closing the game out. He eventually nails a first serve, only for Djokovic to land a brilliant cross-court forehand that forces his opponent into planting the return shot into the net.
Medvedev unleashes antoher angry forehand before, would you beieve it, another double-fault. Djokovic tries to force the issue, but the No.3 seed comes forward and maintains his perfect record at the net before eventually holding his serve as Djokovic’s tired forehand crashes into the net.
The second set is underway, Medvedev to serve
Medvedev left the court immediately after the first set for a bathroom break. Worth remembering Djokovic has won 72 of 73 matches at Flushing Meadowns when winning the opening set.
As the commentary team have pointed out, Medvedev’s approach has been to extend the rallies as much as possible, while Djokovic has looked to come forward and dictate the tempo.
Djokovic wins the first set 6-3
Djokovic’s first serve is absolutely perfect, but Medvedev somehow gets to it and he almost saves Djokovic’s next volley on the next shot.
The Serb spreads the court again from the baseline with a booming 103mph effort.
An extraordinary rally follows, with both players bringing in the heavy artillery, moving right to left on the baseline. Djokovic clenches his first as he looks back to his box, wearing the look of a man who knew how crucial that point could prove.
And so it does as Medvedev’s forehand is overhit and Djokovic takes out the first set 6-3.
First set: Djokovic 5-3 Medvedev
Djokovic wins the first point and Medvedev then puts himself into a hole with a double-fault, which he follows up with a superb second serve that leaves Djokovic no chance but to send his return wide.
Medvedev takes another huge risk with his second serve, but it pays off as he levels the score with a tremendous back hand down the line, but it all comes to nothing as he crashes his next shot into the net.
The Russian’s first serve finally comes to life as he saves a set point and then takes the lead as Djokovic’s box instructs him to use the forehand more.
Another double-fault results in another deuce, before Medvedev’s attempted volley is comically mist-hit and finds the net.
The Russsian takes his anger out on the ball with two powerful forehands and holds his serve. Just.
First set: Djokovic 5-2 Medvedev
Djokovic’s second serve is good enough to force Medvedev into a mistake, as he sends a runing forehand beyond the baseline. But he recovers well, winning a point after Djokovic’s forehand crashes into the next after a quick rally.
The second-seeded Serb wins the next point with a precise volley, before again unsettling Medvedev with some booming forehands which force the Russian into a hopeful lob that disappears wide.
Djokovic’s first serve continues to desert him, but his baseline game is as good as ever. He sprays the ball to Medvedev’s right, then left, then right again as he finds a winner with a sumptous forehand.
Medvedev will serve to stay in this set after the changeover.
First set: Djokovic 4-2 Medvedev
Medvedev opens the sixth game with a booming 120mph ace, but Djokovic win the next point easily.
He then makes a mess of a great chance, not coming to the net after forcing Medvedev back with a brilliant lob and then blasting his volley out.
He looks set to level the score, but he again overhits a forehand and Medvedev holds.
First set: Djokovic 4-1 Medvedev
The first two points are over quickly, before another monster 37-shot rally sees Medvedev and Djokovic trade cross-court backhands, the last of which ends in the net unfortunately for the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic comes forward twice on the next two points, winning them both with ease but Medvedev answers with a stunning passing backhand down the line to level things up!
Djokovic is forward again, his forehand pinning Medvedev in the corner and allowing him an easy volley. A cross-court shot forces the Russian wide and his forehand crashes into the net.
First set: Djokovic 3-1 Medvedev
Medvedev wins the first point of the fourth game, but then gets pinned back on his own baseline by Djokovic’s powerful forehand and slams his return into the net.
It’s then the Serbian turn to find the net as Medvedev takes a 30-15 lead. The Russian seizes the initiative and comes down the court to the net, forcing Djokovic into an improvised lob shot, which stays in but has him on the backfoot and Medvedev wins the point with a precise forehand.
He eventually takes out the game after Djokovic’s cross-court shot is overhit.
First set: Djokovic 3-0 Medvedev
Djokovic is dialled in here. Medvedev wins the first two points of the game as he looks for an instant reply, but the Serb wins the next five points and takes the game with a superb ace.
Djokovic breaks – Djokovic 2-0 Medvedev
Medvedev puts himself in trouble with a double fault and Djokovic makes the most of the opportunity with a superb forehand down the line.
He has three break points and needs just one as Medvedev’s shot is overhit.
First set: Djokovic 1-0 Medvedev
A long rally to open things up, which could well be a tone-setter for the evening, ends with Medvedev sending a forehand just wide. Djokovic then slices a backhand into the net, before planting a determined forehand down the line after a 23-shot rally.
He tries it again, but overhits it as Medvedev levels the score, before an ace puts him 40-30 up. Another ace does the job as the Serb takes the first game.
And we’re off.
Djokovic to serve first. The US Open final is underway.
Hollywood stars in attendance
The usual glut of Hollywood stars is out at the US Open, from Justin Timberlake to Matthew McConaughey
The players are on the court!
At long last, here they come. Medvedev is out first and Djokovic follows suit, with both players greeted by a warm reception. The crowd is yet to pick its villain, it seems.
Is the first set crucial?
Djokovic has lost all five US Open finals in which he’s lost the first set, while he’s 72-1 at Flushing Meadowns when winning the opening set.
Medvedev, meanwhile, is 27-0 at the US Open when winning the opening set and is a world-leading 47-1 when winning the first set this year.
The pre-match entertainment is underway
Nobody does pageantry before sporting events quite like the US.
If you’re not familiar withthe NFL, NBA and the MLB or the wonderful world of college sports, then welcome along. This is the norm.
Are you’re wondering whether a version of America The Beautiful before the national anthem is really necessary? Well, strictly speaking probably not, but why hold a simple sporting event when it can instead be drenched in razzmatazz and entertainment?
A look at Coco Gauff’s triumph on Saturday
While we wait for the players to arrive on the court – the 9pm scheduled start time has come and gone, and it always seemed a tad optimistic – here’s a reminder of Coco Gauff’s triumph yesterday.
A word on the weather
New York has been battered by rain today and while the weather has improved, the rain at the Arthur Ashe Arena is expected to be closed for the men’s final. Which is good news for both players as Djokovic and Medvedev both thrive indoors.
A long night ahead?
If you’re considering staying up to watch the final, and there are plenty of reasons to suggest you should, you may want to be aware this could be a very long night.
In the last 15 years, only three times the US Open men’s singles final was over in straight sets.
Medvedev wary of Djokovic’s threat
In the final two years ago, Medvedev reduced Djokovic to tears, a sight rarely seen in courts across the world.
While another showdown between the Serb and Carlos Alcaraz is what everyone wanted to see, how the crowd reacts will be only one fascinating aspect of the final that has materialised.
Medvedev is not fussed about playing the pantomime villain here, and after beating the Spaniard again made sarcastic gestures to the stands seeking acclaim. He has a history of doing that at raucous Flushing Meadows, even more so than the often sensitive Djokovic.
‘He is always better than previous time he plays,’ said the Russian. ‘For example, I beat him in the (2021) US Open final; he beat me in (Paris) Bercy in a great match. Carlos [Alcaraz]
beat him Wimbledon; then Novak beat him in Cincinnati.
Here’s how Djokovic reached yet another final
The 36-year-old reached the US Open final after beating local hero Dan Shelton 6-3 6-2 7-6.
He then mimicked the young American’s previous victory gesture of holding an imaginary phone to his ear – and then taking it one step further by slamming down the receiver.
Medvedev: ‘Djokovic is going to be at his best on Sunday’
Medvedev may have knocked out the defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-final, but he’s not getting carried away ahead of another meeting with Djokovic.
‘I think the only way I can use [the 2021 final] is thinking that Novak, when he loses, he’s never the same after. He’s different. It’s just a different mentality,’ he said.
‘That’s why he has 23 Grand Slams, many Masters 1000s [titles] and weeks at number one.
‘So I have to use it knowing that he’s going to be 10 times better than he was that day, and if I want to still beat him, I have to be 10 times better than I was that day. That’s what I’m going to try to do.
‘Novak is going to be his best version on Sunday, and I have to be the best-ever version of myself if I want to try to beat him.’
A look back at 2021
Djokovic and Medvedev met on this stage two years ago, with the Russian prevailing 6-4,6-4,6-4 to deny Djokovic a calendar Grand Slam.
It remains the Russian’s only Grand Slam title to date and tonight will be the fifth time Medvedev has played in the final of one of the four majors.
Djokovic: ‘It’s another shot for history’
Djokovic is well aware of what’s at stake tonight in New York.
‘I understand every time in a Grand Slam final, it’s another shot for history,’ he said.
‘I’m aware of it, and of course I’m very proud of it.
‘But I don’t have much time, nor do I allow myself to reflect on these things or think about the history too much.
‘When I did that in the past, like the 2021 final here, I was maybe overwhelmed with the occasion and the opportunity, and I underperformed.
‘I don’t want this to happen again. I’ll try to just focus on what needs to be done and tactically prepare myself for that match.’
Novak Djokovic stands on the brink of history
Novak Djokovic is one win away from a a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
The Serbian has won 23 majors, one fewer than Margaret Court’s all-time record.
Djokovic lost in five sets in an epic final against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon and now has another shot at matching Court’s record.
Good evening and welcome to Mail Sport’s coverage of the US Open final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. Coming up we’ll have all the lead-up to the finale from Flushing Meadows and then all the live action.
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