Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev For The US Open Title, History; Who’s The Pick?

by Sean Randall | September 11th, 2021, 11:21 pm

We are here! I never thought I’d see it in my lifetime, but a men’s player is three sets from winning the Calendar Grand Slam. That’s what Novak Djokovic will be fighting for (and more) tomorrow when he meets Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

Friday night, Djokovic once again made things difficult for himself, digging out from a set down and then winning in five over a game Alexander Zverev.

There were flashes of brilliance and moments of mistakes, but that’s how Djokovic has been rolling these days.

Meanwhile, Medvedev is also rolling. The Russian has lost just one set en route to his third Grand Slam final. Yesterday, he came from a break down in the second — and really should have lost the second — to ease past the overwhelmed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The Canadian will be back as will Zverev. I think they will each eventually collect Grand Slam titles, and Medvedev will, too. Just not this week. Not with what’s at stake for Novak.

Djokovic’s life, his legacy and career all come down to one single match tomorrow. Three sets. If he wins and completes the Calendar Grand Slam — something that hasn’t been done since 1969 when Rod Laver won all four Slams on TWO surfaces — and passes rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 21 in the process, he is the unquestionable and undeniable greatest ever. It’s not even close.

Goodbye Roger. Goodbye Rafa. You two might have the fans and love, but Djokovic has the GOAT label and will keep it for at least 10-15 years.

To the matchup.

Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev
Medvedev spoke at the start of the event of wanting to do everything he and his young gen buddies could to stop Djokovic from the record. Well, six have failed and now it’s down to him.

The lanky, unathletic looking 25-year-old does have three wins over Djokovic in eight meetings. And if you are going to beat Djokovic, the US Open seems like a good place to do it. It’s where he’s had his strangest and most surprising losses and where the Big 3 have run into the most resistance.

But with so much on the line and all that he’s been through — coming from two sets down twice at the French, a bad exit from the Olympics and all the comebacks this week — I just have to think he’ll find a way.

This is really a day Djokovic has to have dreamt of. A chance once and for all to prove he’s the best. To do something few have ever done, and reach heights Roger and Rafa never will or have even come close to.

And what makes it so great is that it’s one shot. He misses tomorrow, and he won’t get another one. That’s it. He missed on the Golden Slam, I just don’t think he’ll miss twice.

Medvedev does have other ideas. He’s a great defender. Arguably the best in the game. He gets a lot of ball back and will do so again tomorrow. I just don’t know if he can rely on Djokovic making mistakes to win.

And of late, what has Medvedev done? Who has he beaten? He’s on a nice run but his last Top 10 win if you can believe was way back in February at the Australian Open over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

He lost to Tsitsipas at the French, Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon and then Andrey Rublev in Cincinnati (with an assist to the camera). And to make the US Open final, he played one guy in the Top 25, that being No. 15 Auger-Aliassime.

So maybe in the time of need he might doubt himself. We’ll see. But winning is winning and that’s what he’s done. So he comes in full of confidence.

The two will meet for a ninth time with the Serb ahead 5-3. But again, in best-of-5 it is 3-0 Djokovic. And that’s a big issue for these young guys. Winning one set or even two is reasonable, but three sets on a big stage for a big title is a different ask.

Many have tried and many have failed in a Slam final. Outside of Federer and Nadal, the list is just Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray.

To win, Medvedev will need Djokovic to continue making errors and be off on his serve. The big guy will also have to be a little more offensive.

Djokovic will have to be clutch again on serves and connect on his groundies. He might even use the dropshot again. If he’s off in any way, he’ll lose. That’s where Medvedev gets you.

Medvedev talks like he’s ready, now he’ll have to walk it. We know Djokovic will.
The Pick: Djokovic in 4

ESPN will have live coverage of the history-making match starting at 4pm ET. Let’s see how this 2021 Grand Slam season wraps up!

You Might Like:
Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev For The US Open Title, Who’s The Pick?
Rafael Nadal v Daniil Medvedev For The Australian Open Title, Who’s The Pick?
Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev For The Australian Open Title, Who’s The Pick?
Rafael Nadal v Daniil Medvedev For The US Open Title, Who’s The Pick?
Daniil Medvedev Is Soaking In His US Open Win

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

44 Comments for Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev For The US Open Title, History; Who’s The Pick?

Dave Says:

I have something interesting to ask everyone here. Can you think of a time in sports where something huge was on the cusp of happening and it was your favourite team or favourite player and it didn’t happen and you felt the most gutted you’ve ever felt after a loss. I know Skeezer is into basketball. So the Warriors 73-9 season and losing in the finals after being up 3-1. As a boy my favourite team was the Buffalo Bills and they lost 4 Super Bowls in a row. Or the Patriots Going for a perfect 19-0 season only to lose at the end of the Super Bowl. Tomorrow’s match would be probably the biggest gut punch for the ones that have Djokovic as their favourite player.

So the question is…What sporting event were you the most gutted by the outcome?

Oh and my pick is Djokovic in 4. He really only loses to players at majors that can hit through the court. Wawrinka, Thiem, Nadal. Chung and Istomin were when he wasn’t Normal Djokovic. Medvedev is not a high firepower guy. I can’t see him out lasting Djokovic over 5 sets.

Giles Says:

Well I suppose there’s one consolation for us outsiders in that it won’t be a GOLDEN whatever the hell the title will be called!

Alison hodge Says:

Dave the world Cup final, and England losing on penalties 😪😪

Giles Says:

Go on faker hit the ball boy, you know you’ll want to. Lol
Can history repeat itself?

SG1 Says:

Djokovic’s legacy as the best ever will last a lot longer than 10-15 years. None of today’s players are nearly as good as Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. We’ve been talking about the next generation of players for 5 or 6 years now. When the ‘Next Gen” has run into the Big 3, the result has invariably been the same. Whether it’s Thiem, Zverev or Medvedev, they’ve all come up short time and time again.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Dave, in the late ’90’s, the Expos had an absolutely loaded team: Moises Alou, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Vladmir Guerrero, managed by the amazing Felipe Alou. I was about the only person going to their home games. You could sit anywhere you wanted!
They could have been world champions.
Then the league went on strike, and the team folded and moved to Washington. I never watched baseball again.

Some of Fed’s losses to Novak and Rafa have been painful, such as Wimbledon 2019, and the Aussie Open where Roger cried.

I’ve personally lost some rugby playoff matches that were gutting. Until the first beer was cracked. Actually, this is my biggest sporting disappointment: waiting two seasons of COVID for rugby to return, training and getting fit and ready for contact this spring, and then blowing my Achilles and realizing I may never play men’s league again, while watching on Facebook as other friends are announcing “Saturday’s a rugby day!” That hurts like hell.

As for the finals: Sean makes a compelling case that Medvedev hasn’t had that impressive a year. But. He’s won 3 of the last 5 against Novak, and the guts he showed in his injury-loss to Nadal in the finals a few years ago showed the heart of a champion. Novak is a big favourite, but Medvedev will put up a fight, and it won’t be shocking if he wins. Should be a GREAT match. I just hope it will be more entertaining than the Zverev snoozer.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

History correction: I just looked it up, the Expos strike-season team was in ’94, and the Expos crawled along for another decade before folding. I just stopped watching.

Dave Says:

Tennis Vagabond,

I’m really sorry to hear about your Achilles injury. How is it going now? Have you been able to rehab it well? That’s gotta be brutal. I’ve never had a major injury before. So I can’t even imagine.

I remember that Expos team. They were a really good team. The only interesting baseball story I have is when the Oakland A’s when on that huge winning streak and had an amazing starting rotation. A friend that I went to high school with was on that starting rotation but was still really young. But was making an impression. Shoulder issues would always hinder his career in the end. It was The big 3 of Mark Moulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. My friends name was Rich Harden from Victoria. It would have been so cool if they could have won it all that year. Miguel Tejada won league MVP I think that year.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Dave, thanks for asking. The recovery is going really well– I’m off crutches just in time for my rotator cuff surgery in 2 weeks! But at least I get a little bit of time to walk the dog again, which he’s pretty excited about.
I remember Barry Zito from his interviews on Jim Rome, but it was during my post-Expos no-baseball era, so I never really watched.

chrisford1 Says:

Right now, thinking how bad I’d feel if Djokovic loses and if it would be like some other historic sports debacle seems a bad use of time. IF Novak loses, then maybe…
21 at the USO will not be the end of matters, anyways, for those that think Slamcount is the only measure. As Rafa is still in the game and could still win at Roland Garros. The story of the Big 3 isn’t over.
On stats, overall, though – they are pretty compelling that Novak Djokovic is the best all-court player.

Van Persie Says:

When I think about the toughest losses: RG 2013 (semi) and RG 2015 (final) did hurt the most. I waa the most nervous, when Nole had to play Rafa 🙂. Am glad I do not feel the same way today, wvwn if there is much more on stake 😁…. also Halep’s loss in 2017 at RG to Ostapenko was for me a Heartbreaker.

Van Persie Says:

Nole idemooooo!

chrisford1 Says:

Those two, VP, and that awful 1st round loss to Delpo at the 2016 Olympics in the 1st round. Only time I know of Novak walked off the court crying in the end. I would have probably cried with him had I been watching live. That loss likely wasn’t a huge factor in Djokovic’s following emotional tailspin, but it also was no help.

Daniel Says:

Medeved is possessed on serve this set. can he keep it up for 2-3 more stes agaisnt the beat returner ever?! If yes then we have a match. Otherwise, Goatovic loses 1st set only to find his mojo and watch out! Go Djoko!!

To quote Brad (troy) who is in da house: “You know what’s there beyong that match?! immortality, take its yours!”

Daniel Says:

And 1st set is his! at least he already sell it harder than AO, what he just said he wanted in pre match court quick interview. 😜

Van Persie Says:

I did not expect to have the same match as at the AO. Med unplayable on serve in the 1st.

Daniel Says:

Humm. This game did jot follow the Djoko script. 0-40 and he couldn’t convert. Dangerous game next. He has to hold.

Van Persie Says:

Med is no longer that efficient on serve. Nole needs to win this set.

John Says:

Djokovic smashing his racquet typical loser behaviour no wonder nobody likes this guy

Daniel Says:

Djoko unlucky that let cord second serve BP. Lost his temper. Medvedev not reducing a gear.

Van Persie Says:

After Med broke, he got again unplayable.

Van Persie Says:

Please 5 sets!

Van Persie Says:

Med is not Tsitsipas, but Djoko could have played better in the 2nd.

John Says:

I miss the times tennis players actually tried to hit winners.

Van Persie Says:

Medvedev is too good today, one has to admit.

Van Persie Says:

… and Nole too tense, so many errors, which he normally would not do.

Daniel Says:

Wow. Did not see that coming at all. Djoko not breaking at least once on a HC.m?!?!? USO is really his worse Slam (RG he had a Nadal problem). Everything wasn’t working his qay and kudos to Medvedev playing a flalwsless match. FH on fire!! And serving great.

Wog Boy Says:

Congratulations to Medvedev, well deserved.

Congratulations to Nole for 4 GS finals and 3 wins, well done Nole.

Van Persie Says:

Medvedev was a bit under the radar, all eyes were in Djokovic and Zverev. I was a bit affraid Med might revenge his loss in the AO final, butbtries not to think too much about. I tis what it is.

Will be painful for Nole, I am sure.

Van Persie Says:

Second that, WB, it was a great year… perhaps the best in Nole’s career, as he broke so manyvrecords, but still, this will hunt him fo ra while.

Wog Boy Says:

0:40 in second set and not breaking Med’s serve was crucial, after that there was no way back.
I sincerely had Russian as the favourite for various reasons, but didn’t want to argue my case to much since I would be arguing with Nole fan(s), I am neither surprised nor shattered and I mean it, just happy for what he has achieved this year, if he only ca bounce back and win enough points to stay #1 at the end of the year that would be pinnacle of his career, since I genuinely think that he won’t win more slams.
So yes, cheer up, the better player on the day won.

Van Persie Says:

Nole broke, he smiles, I love him 🙂

chrisford1 Says:

Painful, but that is sport. If it was all preordained, no drama, maybe no fans whose emotions ride on a true contest.
That Medvedev is my favorite post-Big 3 player takes some of the sting out. Like maybe 1.5% out of a 100% level sting.
Still a great year for Djokovic and you can arguably say one of several fantastic years where he didn’t win everything. He can chase #1, reclaim a little momentum perhaps in Paris and the ATP championships for next year’s Australian Open. Still has a chance at a Triple Career Slam, a Triple Career Masters Slam.
Life goes on. No one is perfect.

Van Persie Says:

Congrats Medvedev, well deserved. The man of this tournament for sure!

Nole, thank you for this wonderful year!

Daniel Says:

Medvedev was amazing the whole tournament, mostly deserved. As for Djoko, he is still the GOAT, soon to have 7 years end #1 if he is jot already mathmatically there. And maybe this loss can relax him for the next ones next year. Favorite in all of them still, less so in USO. 21 is just there bar injury.

jatin Says:

Medvedev played like WALL… And Served like CRAZY…

Novak was forced to play in the net which is his most unnatural place to play…

It was difficult to see Novak crying in the last game …. But what a Legend he is….

Its Medvedev time now…. He did the impossible..
Beginning of new Era I assume…

Wog Boy Says:

To be honest, my biggest worry was Rod Laver, I was worried that he might drop dead any moment, he looks like he just walked out of the grave.
Luckily he has his girlfriend that holds his hand….

Van Persie Says:

After Daniil lost 2 finals, this one should eincredibly sweet, given th eimportanc eof this moment.

Van Persie Says:

Medvedev is lovely… therefore I will hate him only for a short while 😁

dryeagle Says:

Great year, but piss poor result for Nole today. Shouldn’t have gone to the Olympics.

SG1 Says:

Great win for Medvedev. Totally deserved to win. Seemed like he didn’t miss a shot for the first 2-1/2 sets.

Medvedev did say that the guys in the locker room were gunning to stop Novak and it indeed took the entire field to ultimately stop him.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Too bad we missed out on history today. Sorry for Novak. His B-game has been enough to beat just about everyone for the last couple years, but not today. He needed his A-level, and didn’t have it. There were very few of the jaw-dropping Novak moments in this match.

Amazing job by Medvedev. He couldnt have played much better. I knew he was the real deal, but this was still a shockingly solid performance. What a bizarre match that Novak got most of his winners at the net!

Ahfi Says:

Predicted Zverev was going to win this tournament. Wrong. Also predicted Djoker will win his 21st at Australia but after watching Medvedev play today, I’ve changed my mind. Things are going to be tough hereon out. There are periods when every player becomes hungry for titles/majors and I think this is one such period. Djoker is going to constantly have to battle Tsitsipas, Berrettini, Zverev and Medvedev (and others like hopefully improved Alcaraz, Brooksby and Harris). It’s going to be tough. I know they will all not be on the same side of draws but still..

Top story: Carlos Alcaraz Rolls Right Ankle In Scary Tumble In Rio [Video]