Third-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland overwhelmed World No.1 Novak Djokovic 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 at the Flushing Meadows here to clinch his first US Open tennis title and his third Grand Slam title.
Wawrinka, who fired 46 winners, including three aces, while saving an impressive 14 of 17 break points, prevailed after three hours and 55 minutes on Sunday.
After Djokovic took the first set in a tie-break, the Swiss showed his true mettle, breaking the defending champion early in the second, third and fourth sets.
His steely resolve was on full display as he maintained his composure throughout the encounter, eventually triumphing on his second match point.
It was the 31-year-old Swiss’ third Grand Slam title in as many major final appearances, after he won the Australian Open in 2014 and the French Open in 2015, reports Xinhua.
Wawrinka now becomes one of eight men to win at least three Grand Slam finals without losing. He also becomes one of just five players who have won at least two Slams at age of 30 or older.
“This is amazing. I came here without expecting to win it, but every time I stepped on the court I was trying to win every match. I think I played quite a lot of tennis these two weeks. I’m completely empty,” Wawrinka said after the match.
Prior to the final, 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic had a career 19-4 edge over Wawrinka. But the two players have been very evenly matched over their past five Grand Slam clashes, with Djokovic winning two contests at the Australian Open and one at the US Open, all in five sets, and Wawrinka defeating the Serbian in five sets in Australia and in four sets in the 2015 French Open final.
coming into the match, Djokovic only played three complete matches before entering the final. The Serb advanced to the second round with a walkover and won both his third round and the quarterfinal when his opponents were forced to retire with injuries.
Wawrinka’s path was quite the opposite. After three-set victories in the first two rounds, he had to suffer through a five-set win over Daniel Evans in the third round. All of the rest of his matches in the tournament lasted four sets.
In a match chock full of great rallies and excellent shot placement at Arthur Ashe Stadium, top-seeded defending champion Djokovic took the first set in a tiebreaker 6-7(1).
Djokovic had gone out to a 2-0 lead, breaking the Swiss player’s serve, but the latter fought his way back with his shots falling well. Ultimately however, the Serb was able to win the last five points of the deciding phase to take the set.
Wawrinka found his rhythm and battled back to win the second set 6-4 after breaking the Serb’s serve for a 3-1 lead halfway through the set and then pushing through to victory.
Although exchanging breaks in the second set and with the contest apparently set to go into another tiebreaker, Wawrinka finally managed to prevail as Djokovic committed several errors.
Wawrinka won the third set 7-5, after trading breaks with his rival. The Swiss player went out to a 2-0 lead before Djokovic managed to bring the set back on serve. However, Wawrinka was able to break the Serb again late in play.
In the fourth set, Djokovic began to experience cramps and was having trouble moving on the court. He requested two medical timeouts to tape his toes, but Wawrinka could not be halted in his drive to winning his first US Open title.
“After playing seven, eight months of the season, obviously you’re not very fresh. But of course coming into the Grand Slam final you’re giving it your best. We both felt the demanding match that we played today, physically,” Djokovic said after the match.
“I lost my nerves in the important moments. He kept his cool. I think that’s what decided the match. I just didn’t capitalise at all on my opportunities. I had plenty of them. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side.”
Wawrinka said: “Today I was trying to stay with him. I was trying to be tough with myself, trying not to show anything, not to show any pain, not to show any cramps, not to show anything. I was suffering on the court, but I’m happy and proud with what I have achieved today.
“There is no secret. If you want to beat the No. 1 player in the world, you have to give everything. You have to accept to suffer and you have almost to enjoy to suffer. Because I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally that I ever played.”