Djokovic defeats Federer, wins second U.S. Open title
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic confirmed the tournament seeding and his number one slot in the world, as he defeated second-seeded and 17 Grand Slams winner, Roger Federer of Switzerland, in a rain delayed match played three hours after scheduled start.
Federer won the toss and elected to serve; an indication of his game plan of relentless attacking. This also backfired. Although he opened with a blistering ace and another service winner to reach game point, he faced four break points before taking the game in seven minutes.
Djokovic held serve easily in one minute. In the third game, failing to make a first serve, Federer fell behind 0-40, saved two break points, but conceded the game when he missed a backhand shot after a long rally. Serving to consolidate the lead, Novak was down 0-15 and in an attempt to change direction to retrieve a ball already behind him, fell on the court. It took a while for him to get up, having sustained injury in his knee, elbow and back of his right (racquet) hand.
He cleaned up and continued serving but lost the game. Federer won his next serve without dropping a point, as Djokovic failed to win a point after the fall.
In the changeover, the (medical) trainer came on court and treated the blood-stained injured parts of Djokovic’s body. He returned to battle and won his next game, hitting a passing shot to game point and sealing it with an ace. He then broke Federer’s serve in the seventh game and that was sufficient for him to win the set 6-4. It was the forts set lost by Federer in the whole tournament.
In the second set, Federer struggled as he double-faulted at game point to deuce, and needing a second advantage to take the game. Serving in the second game of the set, Djokovic was down 0-40, but fought back to deuce and saved three break points yet took the game.
The 10th game was similar, but Djokovic won the 12-minute game on his sixth advantage point after staving off a break point. Federer earned the service break as he took the 12th game and the set 7-5. He promptly served winners to take the opening game of the third set.
Again, Federer won the first game of the third set. In the third game, he lost the first point but delivered three consecutive service winners to reach game point, but a double fault led to deuce and Djokovic got the service break.
Federer broke back and held the fifth with three aces. Djokovic held his serve to level 3-all. Federer held serve at love to go up 4-3. Though up 40-0. Djokovic lost three points to Federer and lost the first advantage to give the Swiss first break opportunity, but back to deuce when Federer netted a forehand.
The Swiss had one advantage that was cancelled by Djokovic, who took the game to level at 4-all.
In the ninth game, Federer hit an ace to reach game point but denied by Djokovic. An ace serve gave Federer the advantage lost when a service return landed near his feet. Next a missed backhand gave Djokovic the crucial break. Down 15-40, he took the next point, and then followed a long rally in which the umpire interceded to call a Roger wide. A Federer challenge was unsuccessful and it was advantage Djokovic, who took the next point to win the game and fourth set by six games to four.
Djokovic broke Federer in the first game of the fourth set. When the Swiss hit a crosscourt forehand return winner, there was a glimmer of hope that he would break back and level. But a missed backhand volley forehand and an exchange of points led to 30-all.
At 40-30, Djokovic hit an approach shot to Federer’s backhand, but the world number two’s passing shot nipped the net and landed a millimetre out.
Federer served well to clinch the third game, with a deft drop shot that net-charging Djokovic could not pick up. Both players held serve.
At 3-2, Djokovic was down 30-40, but cancelled the 18th break point Federer had, causing the Swiss to speak to himself (a rarity). Having the advantage point, Djokovic delivered an ace to lead 4-2.
In the seventh game, Federer had game point, but lost on a deuce and with his 53rd unforced error, gave Djokovic the game for a 5-2 lead. Serving well, he went up 40-15, lost the next point but took the game on a passing shot, to the roaring applause of the crowd.
Serving for the match, Djokovic made the first point, lost the next, then it was 15-3o despite an unsuccessful challenge and the Serb faced two break points.
The crowd delayed Djokovic’s second serve delivery, which he directed straight into Federer’s body. Then he hit a service winner to deuce. Advantage went to Federer with a backhand winner down the line.
A service winner gave Djokovic the match point, which he took when Federer’s forehand return went over his baseline.
With the final score of 6-4; 5-7; 6-4; 6-4, Djokovic had his second US Open and 10th Grandslam. It was a victory based on successful defense of his baseline.
Federer had 23 break points but converted only four of them. That was the determinant of the victor in the 43rd meeting of the two great players.
Federer praised the winner. On his part, Djokovic described the Swiss as the greatest champion the game ever had.
After his semi-final victory over compatriot Stan Wawrinka, Federer was asked what he had to say about Serena Williams’ exit and he said the women number one had achieved a lot in the game, adding that he had not thought she would play for so long.
After losing the final to Djokovic, the question was pertinent as to whether or not his words about Serena applied also to himself? Perhaps not, as Federer said, “Thank you all. I’ll see you guys next year!”
• Jacob Akindele, Secretary of Nigeria’s Davis Cup Team from 1986-88; Tournament Director, Lord Rumens Lagos Tennis Classic from 1983 to 1988, is a founding member of the US Tennis Writers Association and a Professional Grade 1 in the US Professional Tennis Association.