Wawrinka wins U.S. Open, tops Djokovic in four sets
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[September 12, 2016]
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Third seed Stan
Wawrinka rose to the occasion once again to beat top-seeded
defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-7(1) 6-4 7-5 6-3 and win the
U.S. Open on Sunday for the third grand slam title of his career.
The 31-year-old Swiss, who defeated Djokovic on his way to winning
the 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open, denied the world
number one a third grand slam title this year following the Serb's
wins in Australia and France.
Wawrinka, who does his best work with titles on the line, set up his
championship point with an easy volley after sending a fatigued
Djokovic deep into the backhand corner.
A Djokovic backhand that sailed long ended the nearly four-hour
slugfest at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"This is amazing," Wawrinka said at the trophy ceremony. "I came
here without the goal to win it, but every time I step on the court
I tried my best to win every match.
"I think I played quite a lot of tennis these two weeks, I am
completely empty. I had to bring everything I had today against
Novak. It was so much emotion."
It was another Flushing Meadows disappointment for Djokovic, who in
seven trips to the U.S. Open final has twice won the title and
finished runner-up five times.
"He is a great champion and deserves to win this title," the
12-times slam winning Serb said in congratulating Wawrinka.
"We played almost four hours and we both felt it. We both felt the
demanding match we played today physically but he came out on top.
In the decisive moments he was a better player, he was tougher
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
won three of their seven grand slam encounters.
"He loves to play in the big matches," Djokovic said. "He comes up
with his best game. He's so solid from both corners. He's got a good
slice and amazing one-handed backhand, all corners. Big serve. Moves
well. He's a very complete player."
It was a grueling, groundstroke battle that featured captivating
rallies and brilliant shot-making from the familiar foes.
[to top of second column]
Stan Wawrinka of
Switzerland celebrates with the championship trophy after beating
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men's singles final on day fourteen
of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY
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, the Serbian breathing
heavily after some rallies and clutching at his leg in discomfort
after being broken to trail 0-2.
Djokovic was granted a medical timeout after holding serve for 1-3.
Djokovic, who had injury questions entering the slam and benefited
from an easy ride that included a walkover and two retirements, took
off both shoes and had some toes taped.
The six-minute interruption did little to stem the victory charge by
Wawrinka, who built his winning edge by being better on the most
The Swiss led Djokovic by the narrowest of margins, 144 to 143 in
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.
He is a perfect three-for-three in grand slam finals.
(Additional reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Andrew Both)
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