Russia’s Daniil Medvedev won his first Grand Slam title by shattering Novak Djokovic’s hopes of completing a calendar sweep of the majors in a one-sided US Open final.
Second seed Medvedev, 25, lost his two previous Grand Slam finals but was composed throughout a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win.
World number one Djokovic had already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles this year.
The 34-year-old Serb was also chasing a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title.
Victory would have moved him clear of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the battle to finish with the most men’s majors, but it was the potential calendar Grand Slam which Djokovic had said would be the “greatest achievement” of his career.
Perhaps burdened by the weight of history, Djokovic looked subdued throughout as he made a high number of uncharacteristic errors and also became tearful towards the end.
He also looked way short of his usual physical capabilities.
To put those factors down as the sole reasons for Medvedev’s success would be completely wrong.
The Russian played smartly and confidently, drawing the errors out of his opponent with strong serving and finishing points with precise winners, as he avenged a straight-set defeat by Djokovic in February’s Australian Open final.
There was a slight wobble as he tried to serve out for the title – three double faults helped Djokovic nick back a break for 5-3 – before Medvedev composed himself to take his third championship point.
After sharing a warm hug with Djokovic at the net, Medvedev broke out in a broad smile before sitting back in his chair to contemplate finally winning the first Grand Slam title which he has long threatened.
“I want to thank my team, those who are here and watching. My parents, my family, my sisters. Some of my friends are here too,” said Medvedev.
“Thank you guys because it is not an easy journey to win a Slam. I’m really thankful to you for helping me throughout this journey.”
‘I’ve never felt like this in New York’ – Djokovic overcome by emotion
While losing the opportunity to create further history will be hard for Djokovic to stomach, there was some comfort in the rousing reception he received from a New York crowd with whom he has not always had the warmest of relationships.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium has been somewhat of a hostile venue for Djokovic over the years, particularly in the 2015 final against Federer when fans were cheering misses from the Serb.
From the start of the final against Medvedev, right through to the moment he walked off court, there was huge backing for the Serbian 20-time Grand Slam champion.
After a comfortable hold for 5-4 in the third set, the crowd roared further support for Djokovic and it led to the Serb becoming emotional in his chair.
Initially he laughed and then thumped his heart as the noise became louder. That led to an overwhelmed Djokovic crying behind his towel on his chair and still tearful as he stood behind the baseline at the start of the next game.
Afterwards, he told the crowd while also welling up: “Even though I haven’t won the match I am the happiest man alive because you guys made me very special on the court.
“You guys touched my soul. I’ve never felt like this in New York. Thank you for your support. I love you.”
More to follow.