Third seed Stan Wawrinka has managed to defeat world number 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic to grab his first US Open title.
Wawrinka picked up his third grand slam after defeating Djokovic 6-7(1) 6-4 7-5 6-3 on Sunday evening in New York.
“There is no secret. If you want to beat the No. 1 player in the world, you have to give everything. As I said the other day, 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, Grand Slam that I ever played,” said Wawrinka after his win.
The 31-year-old Swiss handed another Flushing Meadows disappointment to Djokovic, who in seven trips to the US Open final has won the title twice and finished runner-up five times.
Djokovic who won the first set tiebreak 7-1 by running off the last five points, saluted Wawrinka as a “big match” player. The Swiss has now won three of their seven grand slam encounters.
“..I just didn’t capitalize at all on my opportunities. I had plenty of them, break points. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side. You know, in the matches like this, if you don’t use the opportunities, the other guy comes and takes it,” said Djokovic.
“That’s what he did. That’s why I said he was more courageous, because he stepped in and played aggressive where I was kind of waiting for things to happen…” added the Serb.
Wawrinka trailed Djokovic 19-4 in their career meetings, but the hard-working Swiss saves his best for the big stage and he came through with a superlative performance that extended his remarkable streak to 11 straight wins in tournament finals.
As the match wore on, Wawrinka proved stronger and appeared to have Djokovic on the ropes early in the fourth set.
Djokovic was granted a medical timeout after holding serve for 1-3. The six-minute interruption did little to stem the victory charge by Wawrinka, who built his winning edge by being better on the most important points.
It was a gruelling, groundstroke battle that featured captivating rallies and brilliant shot-making from the familiar foes.
Wawrinka cashed in on six of 10 break point opportunities, and frustrated Djokovic by saving 14 of 17 break points against him to become the oldest U.S. Open winner since Australian Ken Rosewall (35) in 1970.
The victory was worth $3.5 million for Wawrinka, who is only missing a Wimbledon victory to complete the coveted career grand slam.
Djokovic had injury questions even before the slam began and benefitted from an easy ride that included a walkover and two retirements. Earlier this year, Djokovic had won the Australian Open and French Open titles. But Wawrinka stole away Djokovic’s third slam title.
(With inputs from agencies)