Thrilled to win a point in the US Open final, and bent on proving a point, Novak Djokovic leaped and roared and threw an uppercut, then glared at some of the thousands of spectators pulling for Roger Federer.
After winning another point in that game, Djokovic nodded as he smiled toward the stands. And moments later, Djokovic
shook his right arm, bloodied by an early fall, and screamed, "Yes! Yes!" to celebrate a missed forehand by Federer.
Djokovic appeared to be all alone out there in Arthur Ashe Stadium, trying to solve Federer while also dealing with
a crowd loudly supporting the 17-time major champion proclaimed "arguably the greatest player in the history of the
sport" by the stadium announcer during prematch introductions.
In the end, Djokovic handled everything in a thrill-a-minute final on a frenetic night. Frustrating Federer with his relentless defense and unparalleled returning, Djokovic took control late and held on for a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory yesterday to earn his second US Open title, third major championship of the year and 10th Grand Slam trophy in all.
"I have a tremendous respect for Roger and what his game is presenting to me and to any other player," Djokovic said
during the trophy ceremony. "His level is always going to (force) the best out of you and that was needed from my side."
Confronted with Djokovic's unequaled ability to race along the baseline and contort his body this way and that,
sneakers squeaking loudly as he changed directions or scraping like sandpaper as he slid to reach unreachable shots, the
34-year-old Federer found himself trying to put the ball into the tiniest of spaces. And it didn't work. He wound up with 54
unforced errors, 17 more than Djokovic.
Another key statistic: Djokovic saved 19 of the 23 break points he faced, while winning six of Federer's service games.
One more: Djokovic won 10 of the first 12 points that lasted at least 10 strokes, a pattern that repeated itself throughout
"Being back in a final is where you want to be," said Federer, who last played in the title match at Flushing
Meadows in 2009. "Playing a great champion like Novak is a massive challenge." (AP)