US Open 2015 Recap: Novak Djokovic Snaps Federer’s Winning Streak to Claim Grand Slam #10
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Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Novak Djokovic closed out the 2015 Grand Slam calendar on the men’s side with a resounding four set victory over world #2 Roger Federer 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4. The victory gave the world #1 his second career US Open title, and his 10th Grand Slam overall, three of them coming this season at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, along with the title in New York. Djokovic has had an incredible season that saw him finish just a French Open final loss away from claiming the calendar year Grand Slam, as he silenced all of the critics about who the world’s best player is right now.
In the final, both players had their chances, and neither played up to the level they had in previous matches at the tournament, including their semifinal blowouts. Djokovic put the pressure on the 34 year old Federer in the very first game, but failed to convert the three break point chances he generated. Federer would later be broken to go down 3-4, and fail to convert a break point chance he had to get the match back on even terms. Though he would save a set point on his own serve, Djokovic served the opening frame out at love.
In set 2 it was Novak who dropped his level and faced pressure from Federer, he had to save five break points from 0-40 down in his opening service game of set #2, and then had to save two break point/set points on his own serve at 4-5. Federer finally got a break when he needed it, as Djokovic couldn’t force a tiebreak and the match went to 1 set each after a Federer break for 7-5.
In the third set Federer had a chance to take a resounding lead, as after a pair of early breaks, he had two break point chances to go up 5-3 in the set and serve for it. Instead, Djokovic would hold, then break, and save a pair of break points to take the decisive 2 sets to 1 lead. At this point Federer was frustrated and Djokovic started to roll, breaking twice for a 5-2 lead. Federer gave it one final fight with pride, and with nothing to lose, broke and held to get it 4-5 but he once more failed to convert his break point chances in the final game of the match, and on his first match point, Djokovic secured Grand Slam #10.
Federer was aggressive and generated plenty of return chances, as he won just two fewer points than Djokovic in the 4 set match (147-145). However he was just 4/23 on break point chances, and when it mattered he became defensive and nervous in the clutch, a far cry from his formerly lethal status as Darth Federer, the #1 player in the game, and perhaps the greatest of all time. It is still incredible can compete at such a high level at his age, and his play this summer is a remarkable feat, but Djokovic had the mental edge and was rock solid when it mattered, earning him a well deserved victory with his 6/13 break point conversion result. Judging from his reaction at the end of the match, losing meant a lot to Federer and he was emotionally invested in the result.
Djokovic and Federer were deserving finalists and by the far best two men’s performers in the second week. Djokovic needed 4 sets to get past Roberto Bautista Agut and Feliciano Lopez, but put any doubts about his form to bed with a thumping of defending champion Marin Cilic in the semifinals, as the Serbian superstar dropped just 3 games in three sets.
Federer used two tiebreak victories and a break to send American #1 John Isner packing on Labor Day, and then totally controlled play against both Richard Gasquet, and his countryman Stan Wawrinka without dropping a set. Wawrinka couldn’t conjure up the same level of play that earned him a victory over Federer in Paris at the French Open, and before losing to Djokovic, Federer hadn’t dropped a set, not to mention lost a match, since Cincinnati. Credit should also go to Kevin Anderson, who reached the quarterfinals with a four set win over world #3 Andy Murray, in the best performance of the big serving South African’s career. Overall the US Open featured career performances from both top players, and names like Anderson and Fabio Fognini.
It will be interesting to see if both Djokovic and Federer can maintain their fantastic form throughout the rest of the season and continue to battle in the remaining big tournaments on the calendar.
In doubles Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won their first Grand Slam title together, 6-4 6-4 over Jamie Murray/John Peers. The veteran Mahut tastes Grand Slam glory after two previous final losses in doubles (Australian Open 2015 and French Open 2013).
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