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• Djokovic bounces back after Serena Williams loses to Venus • Petra Kvitova routs defending champion Simona Halep and upsets Andy Murray in doubles • French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko is latest to be knocked out
Novak Djokovic’s tears, booing during sets and history denied: A US Open final for the ages
US Open: Novak Djokovic claims sixth title to seal career Grand Slam
The US Open final had the makings of a grand final with Wimbledon champion Roger Federer staring down the barrel of a first defeat against Dominic Thiem, a German never before in a final, and Novak Djokovic seeking to complete a career Grand Slam and return to the top of the men’s tennis world rankings.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the championship trophy after beating Rafael Nadal of Spain in the men’s singles final at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York on Sunday. Photograph: Andres Kudacki/Reuters
And then things took a turn for the bizarre as the two-time defending champion, Serena Williams, crashed out to her older sister Venus.
Novak Djokovic posts tearful selfie after US Open triumph Read more
Venus was first off, setting the tone as she dominated Serena 6-3, 6-4, slicing winners through the statuesque American’s lefty forehand and making crowd favourite Serena look a few millimetres shy of an ankle injury.
But while her sister was celebrating, six-times US Open champion Djokovic was also a frustrated figure as he slipped to a 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 defeat by Thiem which ended the champion’s Grand Slam winning streak at 29, equalling Federer’s record.
Novak Djokovic showed his emotions after his loss to Dominic Thiem of Austria. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/EPA
It was certainly a familiar feel to the all-important match-up for the 32-year-old Serb, who also lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final and in the US Open final three years ago.
“I was struggling mentally as well,” said Djokovic, sobbing as he held up the gold trophy to a raucous standing ovation on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
Venus Williams shakes hands with her sister Serena after beating her in the women’s singles final. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Despite the outcome being the same as the last three years, however, there was a noticeable difference in the build-up to Sunday’s championship match.
Djokovic was the more relaxed of the two, admitting to the world as early as his Tuesday night press conference that “first round of Wimbledon I wasn’t in a good place mentally.”
There was no sign of the mental dejection in the early stages as he won the first set. But to his credit, he responded well and forced a decider as Thiem led 30-15 in the third set.
Novak Djokovic suffers shock US Open defeat to Dominic Thiem Read more
And the Thiem served well, while Djokovic wilted under the Serb’s more effective singles return game.
A tense fifth set was dominated by the sheer skill of Thiem, who rifled off huge, pinpoint forehands and darted across the court to spin groundstrokes away.
When Djokovic began to streak back, breaking Thiem’s serve to break serve, the crowd was on its feet in a deafening roar but the Swiss soon recovered.
He then produced a brilliant forehand winner to break Djokovic in the fifth game of the deciding set before forcing another break in the next.
Djokovic raised his arms to the heavens in celebration after clinching a crowd-pleasing win but gave a dismal and emotional goodbye.