US Open: Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer in 4 sets, joins 10 majors club
Novak Djokovic won his third Glam Slam of 2015 as he overcame Roger Federer in four sets.
New York: Novak Djokovic clinched his third Grand Slam title of 2015 and 10th career major with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over sentimental favourite Roger Federer in the US Open final on Monday.
Shrugging off a three-hour rain delay and the overwhelming hostility of the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, the 28-year-old world number one captured his second title in New York to add to his 2011 triumph.
The defeat shattered 34-year-old Federer's bid to become the oldest US Open champion in 45 years and left him marooned on 17 Grand Slam titles, the last of which came at Wimbledon in 2012.
Djokovic added the US Open title to his Australian Open and Wimbledon victories this year.
Had it not been for a heartbreaking loss to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final in June, the rock-solid Serb would have been celebrating a rare calendar Grand Slam.
Djokovic's 10 majors takes him level with American Bill Tilden and just one shy of Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver on the all-time list.
Federer was ultimately undone by 54 unforced errors and his ability to convert just four of 23 break points.
"I have tremendous respect for Roger and the challenge he presents," said Djokovic, who is now 21-21 in career meetings with Federer.
"He's the best player ever. I knew I needed to play my best in order to win. It's an incredible evening."
He added: "I love this sport and all these achievements are incentive for me to keep on going."
Federer insisted he would be back to try again in 2016.
"I love tennis. I'll see you back here next year," said the veteran.
"I'm pleased with where my game is, but playing a great champion like Novak is always difficult."
With the likes of Robert Redford, Sean Connery and David Beckham watching, and with Eva Asderaki-Moore making history as the first woman to umpire the men's singles final, Djokovic was dialled in from the start despite heavy rain forcing a three-hour delay and an evening start.
He forced five-time champion Federer, playing in his first US Open final in six years, to save three break points in a six-minute opening game.
The top seed held to love and then broke for 2-1 --- it was just the third time in 84 service games at the tournament that the Swiss veteran had been broken.
However, with the playing surface still damp from the hours of rain, the Serb suffered a worrying fall in the next game, turning over on his right ankle and bloodying his elbow.
Federer pounced to retrieve the break but the Serb was soon back in the ascendancy and Federer was broken again in the seventh game.
Federer saved a set point in the ninth, but conceded the first set with a netted backhand in the 10th game.
It ended his run of 28 consecutive sets won, a mark stretching back to July's Wimbledon championship match, where he lost to Djokovic.
Djokovic saved five break points in an eight-minute game to go 1-1 in the second set despite Federer's first use of his 'SABR' charge-and-chip ploy.
Federer then had two set points in the 10th game -- surrendering one with a wild forehand with an open court at his mercy.
Djokovic held after seven deuces and 15 minutes of unbearable tension as he faced down Federer and the majority of the crowd.
The Swiss allowed another set point to slip away in the 12th game but he converted his fourth on a monster backhand to level the final.
The stadium erupted, leaving no doubt whatsoever as to the crowd's affections.
Djokovic broke for 2-1 in the third, but unsettled by a call from the crowd during his service action he handed back the break for 2-2.
The top seed saved two break points in the eighth game before Federer suddenly lost focus and out of nowhere handed Djokovic a 5-4 lead.
Federer had two break points as he desperately clung on but Djokovic held his nerve to serve it out.
Djokovic sensed blood and broke in the opening game of the fourth set and saved a break point to lead 4-2.
The Serb broke again for 5-2, roaring at the crowd and the New York nighttime sky.
But there was still time for a twist as Federer retrieved one of the breaks when Djokovic served for the title and backed it up with a hold.
The Swiss let three more break points slip away in the 10th game before nerveless Djokovic sealed victory off a long Federer service return.
If there were many folks in favor of Djokovic in the 23,771-capacity arena, they were tough to hear. Instead and make no mistake, Djokovic noticed a vast majority were on Federer's side, even applauding fault's by Djokovic, which is considered poor tennis etiquette. Over and over, chair umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore, the first woman to officiate a US Open men's singles final, held up a hand the way a school teacher might and asked for quiet.
The momentum, and match, shifted dramatically late in the third set, when Federer held two break points to go up 5-3 and get a chance to serve for a 2-1 lead in sets.
But on the first, Federer dumped a forehand into the net. And on the second, Djokovic ended a 15-stroke exchange by punishing Federer's weak backhand with a big cross-court forehand winner. After holding there, Djokovic broke for a 5-4 lead when Federer shanked a forehand, then missed a backhand wide. Djokovic pointed to his right temple as he wheeled toward his guest box, where coach Boris Becker was standing in approval.
Djokovic then served out that set, saving two break points before moving out front for good on yet another backhand error from Federer.
Picking up steam as Federer seemed to wilt, Djokovic broke again and went up 2-0 in the fourth, making it a five-game run. He would take eight of 10 games there, and had a chance to serve out the victory at 5-2. But Federer broke there, forcing Djokovic to try again. The next time, Djokovic did not falter, pointing to his heart after one last forehand return by Federer flew beyond the baseline.