Novak Djokovic vs. Daniil Medvedev result: Calendar Grand Slam dies as Medvedev wins 2021 US Open

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The crowd in New York wanted it. The tennis world wanted it. As the tears that flowed afterward into his towel showed, Novak Djokovic wanted it. But there’s a reason the calendar Grand Slam has not been achieved in 33 years (52 on the men’s side); it’s incredibly hard to do.

And on the final Sunday of the 2021 US Open, Djokovic’s bid came to an end as Daniil Medvedev won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“I want to say sorry for you, the fans, and Novak because we all know what he was going for today,” Medvedev said on court after the win, reminiscent of when Canada’s Bianca Andreescu apologized for beating Serena Williams in the women’s final two years ago. “What you accomplished this year and throughout your career, I never said this to anybody but I will say it right now, for me you are the greatest tennis player in the history.”

TENNIS: What is the calendar Grand Slam? | Who has won most men’s singles titles?

Medvedev dominated the match. He had 16 aces to nine double faults (Djokovic had six aces and three double faults), although both players struggled to get their first serves in throughout. Medvedev, who used his ability to get the ball back to open the court, had 38 winners to Djokovic’s 27 and had seven fewer unforced errors. The 25-year-old Russian converted on four of eight break point chances while keeping the Serbian to just one of six. 

The world No. 2’s first career Grand Slam title not only ended Djokovic’s chance at the calendar Grand Slam but also kept him tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 career major wins. The “Big 3” are tied atop the men’s singles all-time leaderboard. 

“Tonight, even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I am the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special,” Djokovic said as he addressed the crowd. 

Djokovic’s drive for the Grand Slam began at the Australian Open in February, when he beat Medvedev in the final. It’s somewhat fitting that the player against whom it started, who said pre-tournament, “We’re here to not let him win the US Open . . . I want to win the US Open. I don’t care if it’s in the final against a qualifier or against Novak. I just want to win this tournament” — ended his bid.

US OPEN 2021: Can Novak Djokovic win the Grand Slam? Stan Wawrinka weighs in

It has been 33 years since a singles player won all four Grand Slam events in a season. The last to do it was Graf in 1988; the last man was Rod Laver in 1969. That’s how elusive a feat it is. Not many have even come close. Since Graf, there was just Serena Williams in 2015, but she lost in the US Open semifinals to unseeded Roberta Vinci. Williams and Djokovic are one of six players to win the first three majors in a tennis season in the Open Era; just three won in Flushing.

It was a big weekend for first-time champs. Saturday’s women’s final was a historic one as the first qualifier — man or woman — won a Grand Slam tournament when Emma Raducanu captured the title. There was anticipation that more history would be made Sunday.

Sporting News had all the action as Djokovic attempted to accomplish two historic feats in the 2021 US Open final.

(2) Daniil Medvedev def. (1) Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Match results, highlights from 2021 US Open men’s final

Third set: Medvedev wins 6-4

Medvedev serving to close things out. After a long rally, Djokovic’s forehand goes long and he’s three points away. Another long rally that saw Medvedev clip the line a few times and Djokovic hits the approach into the net. Two points away. Medvedev sends the ball long and this crowd is wanting more tennis. But Medvedev says no as he hits the approach forehand into the open court for the winner. Two championship points for Medvedev; he double faults on the first one but on the second one, Djokovic’s return goes into the net.

Medvedev leads 5-4

A rejuvenated Djokovic holds and the crowd is clearly behind him now as he wins in five points. He has won seven of the last eight points since Medvedev had championship point on his racquet.

Medvedev leads 5-3

Championship point, 40-30. Medvedev serving and he double faults. The crowd was quite boisterous and he just served anyway and then he double faults again. Djokovic gets the break — his first of the match(!) — as Medvedev sends the shot into the net. The 20-time Grand Slam champ asking the crowd for more.

Medvedev leads 5-2

Djokovic holds to stay alive in the final and keep the quest for the calendar Grand Slam, and career. win No. 21, going.

Medvedev leads 5-1

Djokovic looking a little better now but Medvedev gets the game to 30-all with a popper that falls just over the net. Game point for Medvedev as the backhander by Djokovic goes into the net. He wins to go up 5-1 as Djokovic’s forehand return goes into the net 

Medvedev leads 4-1

Djokovic isn’t done yet. He holds serve with just four points to get on the board in the third set.

Medvedev leads 4-0

A five-point hold for Medvedev and he is just cruising right now.

Medvedev leads 3-0

Medvedev breaks Djokovic again. The Serbian had a chance to get back on serve but the Russian rattles off three straight points.

Medvedev leads 2-0

As much as people want to see history, the play of Medvedev is unreal. He chases down the short ball and hits the crosscourt passing shot winner.

Medvedev leads 1-0

Djokovic starts off the set serving. Medvedev gets a break point chance as the forehand volley goes into the net. And then, after yet another long rally, Djokovic hits the slice backhand long. Medvedev is now 3-for-7 on break point opportunities in the match. 

Second set: Medvedev 6-4

First point: Djokovic can’t get the return back (15-0); Second point: ace down the line (30-0); Third point: Medvedev chases down the short ball that skimmed the get and pops the shot into the corner (40-0); Fourth point: double fault (40-15); Fifth point: Long rally and Medvedev sends the backhand just wide (40-30); Sixth point: Djokovic backhand approach — with Medvedev at the net — goes wide. 

Medvedev leads 5-4

Djokovic holds. Medvedev will serve for the set.

Medvedev leads 5-3

The 25-year-old is playing at such a high level. Four points, three winners and he is a game away from a two-set lead.

Medvedev leads 4-3

A winner by the Russian, another unforced error by Djokovic and Medvedev is up 0-30. Djokovic gets the points back after a forehand by Medvedev goes into the net and another forehand goes long. If Medvedev can win the game it would be huge as he could serve for the set; however, two serves he can’t return into the court gives Djokovic the hold.

Medvedev leads 4-2

Medvedev is just controlling play now. Up 15-0, he keeps getting the ball back before opening the court and hitting the winner into the corner. He takes a two-game lead as the backhand volley by the World No. 1 can’t hit the line.

Medvedev leads 3-2

A double fault, a missed forehand, a slice backhand, where he doesn’t move his feet, goes into the net and Medvedev has two break point chances. Djokovic saves one with a good serve that Medvedev returns long but on the next one he stabs at the volley at his feet and sends it wild.

Tied 2-2

A long rally but Djokovic sends forehand out, and Medvedev has a chance to level the set. Medvedev responds and sends the next point wide and it is deuce. Break point chance for Djokovic as Medvedev sends the backhander down the line wide.

Let is called as music plays during the point at the stadium and Djokovic is not happy. Medvedev saves things with a great drop volley. Djokovic is 0-for-4 on break point chances but get another chance — and Medvedev saves it again with a backhander down the line Djokovic has trouble handling. 

On the next point, Djokovic has trouble with the Medvedev serve and absolutely demolishes his racquet. He can’t handle the serve on the ad side too and the set is tied.

Djokovic leads 2-1

Chance to break for Medvedev but Djokovic saves it with a big first serve he can’t get back. On his second chance to close out the game, Djokovic finishes things off with two slams, the second into the open court. Djokovic coming in a lot is 12-for-14 for net points won.

Tied 1-1

The crowd starting to get behind Djokovic — they want a five-setter? — as he gets three break points opportunities. Medvedev gets two back thanks to a great forehand approach shot winner and an ace. He staves off the third one as Djokovic hits the slice backhand into the net for deuce. Ace No. 10 and another serve down the T that Djokovic can’t return on the court levels the set for Medvedev. Great hold by the Russian.

Djokovic leads 1-0

Djokovic starts off the second set serving and wins the game in four thanks to winners No. 11 and 12 of the match. Medvedev, by the way, has 13.

First set: Medvedev wins 6-4

Medvedev serving for the set hits a serve that Djokovic can’t hit back and fires off an ace to go up 30-0. He double faults but then recovers with a good serve down the T that Djokovic sends back long. He then collects ace No. 8 to finish off the set.

Medvedev leads 5-4

Djokovic serving to stay in the set sends the forehand into the net to trail 0-15. He then wins the next point on an overhead slam and goes up 30-15 with a beauty drop shot volley. He gets Medvedev to hit a backhand forced error and a backhand unforced error to win the game.

Medvedev leads 5-3

Ace No. 5 for Medvedev makes it 30-0 and ace No. 6 gives him the game. 

Medvedev leads 4-3

Aside from the early break, both players are breezing through their service games. They each have four aces (Djokovic also has two double faults) and eight winners in the match.

Medvedev leads 4-2

Another five-point hold for Medvedev. He finishes with a few overhead smashes on the last point of the game.

Medvedev leads 3-2

Djokovic says: “I can do a quick game too.” Thanks to two aces he holds.

Medvedev leads 3-1

Another quick service game by the Russian; this time in four games as he finishes it off with an inside-out forehand winner down the line.  

Medvedev leads 2-1

Djokovic struggling and already has eight unforced errors, trailing 15-40. He gets one point back with a backhand winner with Medvedev off the court and then gets it to deuce with an overhead smash. Back-to-back aces help him recover to avoid going down a double break early.

Medvedev leads 2-0

A quick service game for Medvedev as he goes up 40-0 and then holds in five points as Djokovic hits the backhand long.

Medvedev leads 1-0

Djokovic struggling with his serve in this first game (ended with 38 percent of his first serves going in). Medvedev gets the game to level at deuce — and gets an early breakpoint chance — after two long rallies and two shots missed on the forehand by the World No. 1. Medvedev then gets the break as Djokovic sends the forehand wide.

Pregame

All times Eastern

4:15 p.m. — Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper in attendance as is Maria Sharapova and the last guy to win the calendar Grand Slam, Rod Laver.

4:05 p.m. — Players enter Arthur Ashe Stadium. The weight of history is on the shoulders of Djokovic. Can Medvedev play spoiler?

3:47 p.m. — Another Golden Slam. Will Djokovic make it a Slam three-peat? (Note: Djokovic cannot win the Golden Slam as he lost in the semis to Alexander Zverev at the Tokyo Olympics.)

3:43 p.m. — Fun fact: Djokovic is the first player to complete the career Grand Slam twice. 

3:10 p.m. — Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai defeat Americans Coco Gauff and Caty McNally for the women’s doubles crown.

3 p.m. — Earlier in the day, a Golden Slam was achieved by Diede de Groot. She won all four Grand Slams and the Olympics in 2021.

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