US Open: Djokovic beats Nadal to win first US Open title
That's exactly what happened in the third game of the second set, which lasted 17 minutes and featured a bit of everything: 22 points; eight deuces; six break points; a time violation warning against Nadal (Djokovic was admonished later in the set); complaints by both men that the glare from the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights was bothersome; seven exchanges that lasted at least 10 strokes.
After a 28-shot point, Djokovic leaned over and put his hands on his knees, his chest heaving. Nadal was the one who faltered, though. He double-faulted to set up break point No. 6, then - on a great defensive lob by Djokovic - put an overhead into the net.
The final - delayed a day to Monday by rain for the fourth consecutive U.S. Open - was marked by spectators calling out during points or as the players were in their service motions, and while that's perhaps to be expected in New York (as opposed to, say, the staid All England Club), Djokovic and Nadal were bothered by it, and the chair umpire repeatedly chastised the unruly crowd.
Once he adjusted to the conditions, Djokovic disguised shots well, rearing back and ripping big shots off both wings – often right near lines, if not right on them. He wound up with 55 winners - 23 more than Nadal - and all in all, put on a masterful display of as diverse a game as one can have. He excelled at everything - serving, returning, volleying, groundstrokes and the sort of constant movement and retrieving with which Nadal usually frustrates opponents.
Nadal, of course, is no slouch himself. At 25 years old, he owns 10 Grand Slam titles.
He has acknowledged, though, that Djokovic holds a psychological advantage. Late in Monday's first set, Djokovic hit two drop shots that the normally relentless and indefatigable Nadal didn't even bother to chase.
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