- Djokovic wins 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 over Federer for US Open title
- World No1 finishes grand slam season with 27-1 mark at majors
- Match report: Djokovic beats Federer in four epic sets
You can read Kevin Mitchell’s report from tonight’s game here:
That’s all for now. We’ll leave the last word to five-time US Open champion Jimmy Connors. Make sure to check out Kevin Mitchell’s account of tonight’s unforgettable match. Thanks for following along with us!
If there’s one stat tonight’s match boils down to, it’s Federer’s break points won: 4-for-23. So many chances. Just a devastating way for the 17-times grand slam champion to go out. He’s now 5-8 in major finals since 2008 after winning 12 of his first 14.
Updated at 3.48am BST
Djokovic wins fourth set, match and championship!
Fourth set: Djokovic 6-4 Federer
Djokovic with a winner, but sprays a shot wide on the next point for 15-all. Another miss by Djokovic – challenged unsuccessfully – and it’s 15-30. Now a cross-court winner by Federer and he’ll have a pair of break-point chances. Saves the first with a winner, the second with a 123mph ace and it’s brought to deuce. But Federer comes back with a screaming winner down the line and will have another point to level the set at five games apiece. Novak saves that one too, pushing Federer from end to end until he sends a forehand long. Then Federer sends a shot from the baseline long and he’s down championship point. Another error from the baseline and it’s over.
Fourth set: *Djokovic 5-4 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer has come alive, approaching the net for an emphatic winner. Yet he sprays a forehand long and it’s 15-all. Djokovic pushes a return long, then Federer hits a winner and he’ll have a two points to consolidate the break. Squaders the first with an unforced error, but then uncorks a winner from behind the baseline and it just got a bit more interesting. Djokovic with another chance to serve for the title after the changeover.
Fourth set: Djokovic 5-3 Federer* (*denotes next server)
At 15-15, Federer rushes the net and puts away a winner with an overhand smash. Now another winner from the baseline by Federer and it’s 15-40. Two break-point chances for Federer. Djokovic coolly uncorks a 121mph ace to save the first, but Federer gets the break with a drop-shot winner. Too little, too late?
Fourth set: *Djokovic 5-2 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer sprints ahead 30-love but a pair of errors by Federer makes it 30-all. A 118mph ace moves Federer within game point, but a wild all-court point goes to Djokovic and brings it to deuce. Another missed forehand by Federer and he’s in danger of going down a double break now, which would surely be fatal. Massive point. Djokovic with a return winner across the court and he turns to his box and screams. Djokovic will serve for a 10th grand slam title.
Fourth set: Djokovic 4-2 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Federer’s 50th error of the match gives the first point to Djokovic, but Djokovic nets a shot on the next point to make it 15-all. Fans cheering from the upper reaches of Ashe to try and inspire their man to the break he needs to force a decider. Federer steps into the court and crunches a forehand winner that whizzes bast Djokovic. 15-30. Djokovic levels the score with a winner but a sprayed forehand will give Federer yet another break-point chancer and the crowd is whipped into a frenzy. Can he break back? Not on this point: a lengthy rally ends when Federer sprays a cross-court forehand long. Badly mishit shot by Federer gives Djokovic game point, then he locks down the hold with a 120mph. Djokovic now two games from the finish line.
Fourth set: *Djokovic 3-2 Federer (*denotes next server)
Three quick points by Federer, the third on another overrule by the chair umpire. Djokovic crushes a forehand return winner into the corner, but a 118mph ace from Federer locks down the hold.
Agree 100%. Gross.
Updated at 3.14am BST
Fourth set: Djokovic 3-1 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic rattles of a pair of points on his serve, then double-faults for 30-15. Federer pounces on a 84mph second serve but his forehand continues to betray him, sailing far past the baseline. He rebounds with a winner into the corner, but a Djokovic backhand from the baseline puts it away. Relatively drama-free hold.
Fourth set: *Djokovic 2-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
At 15-15, Djokovic misses a backhand return then Federer crunchs a 116mph service winner to move within game point. Djokovic nets a volley to give Federer the hold, but Federer has an uphill climb before him.
Fourth set: Djokovic 2-0 Federer* (*denotes next server)
An outrageous cross-court return winner by Federer makes it love-15, but he misses a drop-shot return for 15-all. A Federer error makes it 30-15, but Federer then rushes the net and deflects a pair of volleys before Djokovic sends a passing attempt wide. Now another error by Federer makes it 40-30. A sprayed backhand wide gives Djokovic the hold. Five straight games for the Serb.
Fourth set: *Djokovic 1-0 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer in a 15-30 hole early. Very much in the danger zone. Perfectly placed backhand by Federer sets up the overhand smash for 30-all. Federer then puts a backhand long after an exceedingly physical point, a 22-ball rally, and Djokovic has a break-point chance at 30-40. Federer saves it to the delight of the crowd, then sprays another shot and Djokovic will have another look at a break. This time Federer blinks, putting a backhand into the net.
Djokovic wins third set!
Third set: Djokovic 6-4 Federer
A sharply struck backhand winner up the line by Federer makes it love-15, then a missed backhand by a small margin levels it at 15-all. An unforced error by Djokovic makes it 15-30 and the crowd – well-lubricated after that three-hour rain delay – buzzes. Federer with a powerful forehand into the corner that Djokovic can’t return into the court. Federer’s 16th break chance of the match coming up, but it’s saved when Djokovic punches in a 123mph ace. 30-40. Then the chair umpire overrules the line judge on a Federer forehand near the line and it’s confirmed out. Deuce. Federer now 3-for-17 on break points tonight. An error by Federer and now Djokovic has a set point for a two-sets-to-one lead. A backhand sprayed wide by Federer and the set goes to Djokovic.
Updated at 2.56am BST
Third set: *Djokovic 5-4 Federer (*denotes next server)
Two quick points to Federer, but Djokovic makes him run from end to end on the next and he nets a forehand. 30-15. A 118mph ace by Federer moves him with game point but Djokovic strikes back on the next point for 40-30. Now a missed backhand by Federer off an incredible shot by Djokovic and we’re at deuce. He cracks a 120mph ace for game point, but Djokovic returns it to deuce with a clean winner. Now a framed backhand by Federer and he’ll have another chance for a break point. And he gets the break when Federer sprays a one-handed backhand wide! Djokovic will serve for the third set after the changeover.
Updated at 2.47am BST
Third set: Djokovic 4-4 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic rattles off three in a row for 40-love to make it 11 straight points for the server, but Federer pounds a return winner up the line for 40-15. Another winner by Federer closes it to 40-30. Now another winner by Federer for deuce from love-40 down. An error by Djokovic and very quickly Federer has a break-point chance to serve for a two-sets-to-one lead. A short rally ends when Federer puts a forehand into the net and we’re back to deuce. Now a Federer forehand puts Djokovic out of position and he overcooks a running forehand to give Federer a second look at a break point. Djokovic then with the forehand winner to bring it deuce followed by a Federer error and it’s a game point for Novak. Amazing rally ends when Federer puts a shot into the net and we’re on serve.
Third set: *Djokovic 3-4 Federer (*denotes next server)
A pair of winners by Federer and he’s quickly ahead 30-love. Djokovic sends a forehand wide, then mishits a backhand and Federer has the love hold.
Third set: Djokovic 3-3 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic drops the first point, then another sneak attack as Djokovic blinks and double-faults to fall behind love-30. A pair of missed returns by Federer brings it to 30-all. Federer then sprays a backhand far past the baseline and Djokovic will have a game point. Another error by Federer and Djokovic has the hold from love-30 down.
Third set: *Djokovic 2-3 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer with a love hold to consolidate the break in less than a minute.
Third set: Djokovic 2-2 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Just when it looks as if Federer is beginning to wilt, he digs deep into a Djokovic service game, forcing a pair of deuces and eventually earning a break-point chance. He makes it count, forcing Djokovic out of position as the world No1 pushes a shot into the net. They’re back on serve in the third.
Third set: *Djokovic 2-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
At 40-15, Federer mixes in his fourth double fault of the match then misses a cross-court backhand and it’s deuce. Another unforced error by Federer and all of a sudden Djokovic has a break-point chance. Now Federer misses again and Novak has the break.
Third set: Djokovic 1-1 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Federer volley winner and it’s love-15 on Djokovic’s serve. Federer mixes in an error, then goes with the SABR and Djokovic misses the pass long. At 15-30, Djokovic goes with the sneak attack again! Federer returns two pass attempts but then dumps a volley into the net for 30-all. Another missed volley by Federer and it’s 40-30. Now a cross-court winner by Djokovic and he’s got the hold.
Third set: *Djokovic 0-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
At 15-15, Federer strikes a pair of winners to earn a game point. Then a service winner for the easy hold. Hard to not feel bad for Djokovic: it’s one vs. 23,000 out there.
Federer breaks, wins second set!
Second set: Djokovic 5-7 Federer
Crowd buzzes a Djokovic drops the first point, but a Federer error makes it 15-all. But a Djokovic error makes it 15-30 and Federer is again with two points of the set. Djokovic saves the first after a lengthy rally: he’s saved eight break points this set! But he doesn’t make it nine as Federer takes it with a one-handed backhand winner into the corner. We’re level at a set apiece.
Second set: *Djokovic 5-6 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer finds himself down 15-30 and it feels like the entire championship hangs in the balance. But Djokovic pushes a shot long then Federer hits a 107mph serve that Djokovic can’t return into the court for 40-30. Another big serve by Federer that Djokovic returns wide and Novak will serve to force a second-set tiebreaker.
Second set: Djokovic 5-5 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic moves ahead 15-love with a net winner, then Federer misses an attempted forehand winner down the line wide for 30-love. Federer then rushes the net and Djokovic blinks, dumping a shot into the net. Huge chants of “Let’s go Roger, let’s go!” between points. What hitting on this next rally, which ends when Federer plays a slice cross court that Djokovic hurriedly pushes into the net. Federer two points from tying the match at a set apiece. Federer rushes the net and attempts a volley winner but it spins wide of the line somehow and Djokovic leaps to the sky and pumps his fist, gesticulating to the crowd: Show me some love! Djokovic then pushes a shot far past the baseline and it’s gone to deuce. Crowd seems 110% behind Federer now. An unbelieveably accurate forehand winner into the corner by Djokovic gives him game point. Crowd silenced. But they’re roused again when Federer hits a forehand winner that paints the line. Now Djokovic has pushed another shot long past the baseline and Federer will have a set point. Crowd delirious. Djokovic saves it when Federer dumps a return into the set, then gives Djokovic a game point when he mishits another return on a 105mph second serve. It’s back to deuce when Djokovic blinks first in an exhange of hellaciously struck, flat groundstrokes from the baseline. Just unreal shotmaking. Now a winner from Federer and he’ll have another set point. Djokovic faults the crowd cheers. Bad form. Federer misses a makeable forehand that would have won the set and Djokovic smiles at the crowd, happy to play the cowboy in the black hat today. Now Djokovic pounds a winner up the line and he’ll have a game point for 5-all. But he blinks in putting a shot itno the net and it’s back to deuce. Federer puts a shot wide for another game point and Djokovic pumps his fist. Federer rushes the net and angles a volley just out of Djokovic’s comfort zone, with Djokovic putting it into the net again. Back to deuce. What a game. Now an error by Federer and advantage to Djokovic again. This time he converts, delivering a 117mph serve that Federer can’t return. A 20-point marathon.
Second set: *Djokovic 4-5 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer with a service winner followed by a double fault, but he responds with a 120mph ace to move ahead 30-15. A wonderfully struck return winner by Djokovic makes it 30-all and the crowd swells in the sense this could be a turning point. Federer crunches what would have been a winner against most players into the corner; Djokovic returns it meekly but Federer puts away a smash for 40-30. Federer then with a service winner for the hold. Djokovic now will serve to stay in the second set.
Second set: Djokovic 4-4 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Two quick points by Djokovic to move ahead 30-love before chair umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore of Greece – who today becomes the first female to serve as chair umpire of the men’s singles final at the US Open – warns the crowd about making noise during the players’ serves. Federer with another error to make it 40-love, then he fails to get a return into the court and Djokovic has the comfortable hold.
Second set: *Djokovic 3-4 Federer (*denotes next server)
More impressive serving from Federer, who quickly moves ahead 40-love before Djokovic nets a return from the forehand side. That’s 14 straight points won by Federer on his serve. Match moving very quickly now.
Second set: Djokovic 3-3 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Another emphatic service game for Djokovic. The shotmaking in this match seems to have leveled up over the past 10 minutes. Not like it was lacking before.
Second set: *Djokovic 2-3 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer dealing on his serve. Another love hold. That’s 15 straight points to the server.
Second set: Djokovic 2-2 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic wins the opening point, then Federer tries the SABR again but Nole delivers the perfectly weighted lob winner. Then another lob winner again on the very next point to move ahead 40-love. Crowd really showing their appreciation for that shotmaking. Federer error off the forehand from the baseline and Djokovic responds with a love hold of his own.
Second set: *Djokovic 1-2 Federer (*denotes next server)
A very quick love hold in less than a minute for the world No2.
Second set: Djokovic 1-1 Federer* (*denotes next server)
And Federer unveils the SABR for the first time today and wins the point! Love-15. Tries it again on the next point but Novak faults. Then a goregeously struck pair of winners by Federer to move ahead love-40 and earn three looks at a break point. Crowd really behind Roger now. Djokovic saves the first, then the second on a 104mph second serve to the body that Federer can’t return into the court. 30-40. Djokovic then saves the third to bring it to deuce, but Federer crunches a forehand winner down the line to earn a fourth break chance. Djokovic faults, but gets the second serve in and pressures Federer’s backhand side to the breaking point before Federer errs from the forehand side. Deuce. Federer earns a fifth break-point chance with an overhand smash after Federer pushed him out wide with a forehand. Djokovic with a punishing cross-court forehand winner to save it and we’re back to deuce. Federer with the SABR, hitting an excellent return … but Federer misplays the drop shot and Djokovic will have a game point. Federer hits a shot long of the baseline and Djokovic has the massive hold from love-40 down. He saved five break points. Feels very much like a turning point.
Second set: *Djokovic 0-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer falls behind love-15 early then rattles off two points for a 30-15 lead. Djokovic hitting very deep, penetrating groundstrokes with pace that are troubling Roger. An error by the world No2 and it’s 30-all. Service winner by Federer and he’ll have a game point at 40-30, but they trade errors on the next few points until Federer moves it to game point again and locks down the hold with a blistering forehand winner from the baseline that skids just out of Djokovic’s reach.
Djokovic wins first set!
First set: Djokovic 6-4 Federer
Two quick points by Djokovic as he tries to serve out the set followed by an error to make it 40-love. Three set points for the world No1. He needs only one as Federer nets a backhand from the baseline early in the rally to hand the first set to Djokovic, who is 13-1 when winning the first set against Federer.
Updated at 1.04am BST
First set: *Djokovic 5-4 Federer (*denotes next server)
Two quick points by Federer, but Djokovic strikes back for 30-all when Roger mixes in a pair of unforced errors. Now Federer dumps a shot into the net and Djokovic will have a set point, but it’s saved when Djokovic nets a shot. Deuce. A Federer service winner followed by an unreturnable serve gives the hold to Federer, who has yet to drop a set once in 28 tries since turning 34. Big cheers for Mariska Hargitay when she’s shown on the monitors.
First set: Djokovic 5-3 Federer*(*denotes next server)
Federer with an early point on Djokovic’s serve, but a length rally ends when he dumps a ball into the next. They trade points for 30-all, giving Federer a glimpse of a chance to even the set. When Djokovic sends a forehand wide, he gives Federer a game point. But Djokovic saves it, then wins the next two points to consolda
First set: *Djokovic 4-3 Federer (*denotes next server)
A pair of winners by Federer make it 30-0, but he strings together consecutive errors to make it 30-all. Then Federer sprays another backhand wide and he’ll face another break point. Djokovic with a backhand winner down the line to seal his second service break of the night. Federer has already faced more break points tonight than any of his previous matches here.
First set: Djokovic 3-3 Federer* (*denotes next server)
A pair of errors by Federer give Djokovic a 30-love edge. He responds with a backhand winner to cut it to 30-15, but Novak pressures Federer with a net approach and Federer sends a forehand well past the basellne. A Djokovic service winner gives him the game.
First set: *Djokovic 2-3 Federer (*denotes next server)
A lightning-quick hold at love for Federer. Less than 60 seconds. Serve is completely dialed in. Since the slip Djokovic has won just one of seven points played. Huge cheers for David Beckham then Bradley Cooper as they’re shown on the big screens around the stadium.
First set: Djokovic 2-2 Federer* (*denotes next server)
Federer wolfs down an energy bar during the changeover. Djokovic nets a forehand on the opening point, then falls behind when Federer attempts a volley winner but Djokovic falls down in a heap while scurry to retrieve it. He’s love-30 down. Applause as he make it to his feet. Then Djokovic nets another backhand and all of a sudden it’s Federer with three break-point opportunities. He squaderes the first with a careless error, but then Federer hits a forehand that skips off the netcord onto the baseline which Djokovic can only hastily return into the net. Back on serve in the first.
First set: *Djokovic 2-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer, a bit sloppy with six errors early, quickly down love-30 on his serve. Two wicked forehands to the corner apply pressure on Federer end with Federer sending the response long and give Djokovic three looks at a break point. Federer saves the first when Djokovic commits an error, then the second with a serve and volley that ends with an overhand smash. But Federer is broken when he sends a one-handed backhand long on the 25th shot of a rally.
First set: Djokovic 1-1 Federer* (*denotes next server)
A service winner by Djokovic followed by a pair of returns sent long by Federer make it 40-love very quickly. Then a mishit return by Fed gives Djokovic an easy hold at love.
Updated at 12.33am BST
First set: *Djokovic 0-1 Federer (*denotes next server)
Federer, who won the toss and elected to serve, with a 124mph ace down the middle on the opening point. Federer then with a 114mph ace out wide but it misses and Djokovic hits a winner in a rally. Djokovic overcooks a forehand, but follows it with a backhand winner for 30-all. The world No1 can’t handle a 122mph serve on the next point and sends it long to give Federer game point, but a Federer unforced error on the next point bring it to deuce. Djokovic then pounces on a 99mph second serve by Federer and Federer dumps it into the net, giving Novak an early break-point chance. Djokovic sends another return long and it’s back to deuce. Another error by Federer gives him a second break point, but he saves it with a terrific forehand winner down the line for deuce. Another ace by Federer, a 106mph number, gives him another game point … but he rushes the net early in the rally and mishits a volley into the net. Back to deuce. A double fault by Federer gives Djokovic a third chance to break and the crowd swells in applause. Djokovic returns a 124mph into the net and we’re on deuce No4. This is a Roger crowd. Djokovic sends yet another return long and Federer has another chance to hold, which he does when Novak sends a backhand return long.
“It’s nothing new for us,” says Federer of the delay in his pre-match interview. “I’m feeling good going out there.”
Then comes Djokovic: “This is why you wake up in the morning and hit tennis balls,” he says, “to be in this position.”
The players emerge from the tunnel to Baba O’Riley and a positively electric atmosphere.
Updated times: anthem at 7.02, pre-match interviews at 7.05, first ball at 7.18. Not much longer now.
Updated at 12.00am BST
So, we have a start time. The players are due out on court at 7.02pm New York time – or in 15 minutes or so. There will then be the pre-match interviews and the anthems and some pomp and, no doubt, circumstance. The main thing is, patient reader, that we are no longer too far off the start.
There will be no play before 7pm New York time but it’s not all bad news:
Updated at 11.43pm BST
The hardest workers at Flushing Meadows today (I should stress that this was a while back and it’s dried up since):
Federer’s service game has been brilliant this year, a big reason why he has reached his first US Open final since 2009. He has won 93% of his service games in 2015 – that’s a career best for him. Djokovic will be fairly familiar with Federer’s serve though – their 41 previous meetings are the second most times two players have met in the Open era. The record belongs to Djokovic and Nadal, who have met on 44 previous occasions (Nadal leads that series 23-21).
ESPN are showing the rain radar for the area, and it looks like the rain should clear soon – and once it has then it should be a dry night. The local hourly forecast for Flushing also says the rain should clear in the next 30 minutes.
The skies are a little clearer and lighter over Flushing Meadows. The court is still wet, and there is drizzle falling, but the moppers are out and the excess water is being removed. It will probably be an hour until the match starts though. The heavy rain that fell earlier seems to have gone for the evening. Hopefully.
Updated at 11.19pm BST
Despite his brilliance, Djokovic actually has a pretty poor record in US Open finals – his sole victory came in 2011, and he has lost in the final on four other occasions. Federer, on the other hand, has been pretty ruthless when the trophy is in his sights – he’s 5-1 in the final at the US Open. Then again, he hasn’t been to the final here since 2009.
As we wait for the rain to clear, let’s get some history. Federer and Djokovic have faced each other 41 times previously, and the margins are as fine as Donald Trump’s delicately coiffured locks. Federer leads the series 20-21. He also has a small edge at the US Open agains the Serb – he has won three of their five meetings at Flushing Meadows, although Djokovic has won the most recent two of their matches here. The only time they’ve played each other in a US Open final was in 2007, when Federer won in straight sets.
My colleague Tom Lutz, a few miles south in Brooklyn, reports that it’s clear and dry there, which bodes well for this evening. It’s likely this match will start at some point in the near-ish future.
Meanwhile, David Beckham seems to be enjoying himself as he interns at Vogue:
The bad news is the rain is coming down as hard as fallen all day. The latest update is no play before 6pm no matter what. That’s 25 minutes from now and seems wildly optimistic as the court is soakes.
The good news … well, it’s hard to say at the moment. But the forecast does indicate it should subside around 7. Many of you have reached out for information via Twitter and email and I’ve tried to respond to each, but do know I’ll post any substantial updates on the weather and potential start time in this space the moment I hear anything. Keep the faith!
The rain is getting worse. I’m going downstairs. We could be in for a late night here in New York.
Updated at 10.19pm BST
Umbrellas are up on Ashe again and fans making their way to the concourse. Not ideal. Which now begs the question …
It’s most likely ESPN’s call. I’m thinking 8pm. Perhaps 9? It it were a night session match they’d wait that long.
Or “very late” per Brad Gilbert.
Rain seems to have passed. They’re saying they’ll try to start at 5.18pm local time. So 20 minutes from now. But the dryers are waiting ominously in the tunnels …
Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings … but it’s started to sprinkle again here on Ashe. Sincerely hope this passes without needing to bring the dryers out again.
The rain has paused and the dryers are out. Still technically in a rain delay but we could have tennis before long.
Here’s a look at the hour-to-hour forecast for Flushing Meadows. Good news for tonight at least.
Here’s a view of Arthur Ashe Stadium right now. Current status: wet.
Matches on the outer courts have indeed been suspended. Keep fingers crossed!
And just as we’ve settled in for today’s match … the rain has come. Hopefully it will pass over quickly. As of now we’re still on to play with matches going on around the grounds, but it’s really coming harder now and I wonder if Djokovic and Federer will start on schedule. We’ll keep you posted.
Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for today’s US Open men’s singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. It’s the 42nd meeting between these longtime rivals, currently the top two players in the world rankings, and they’re both entering the final on a head of steam after dominant performances in their semi-final matches.
A victory would make Federer, who just turned 34 (and hasn’t dropped a single set of 28 played since his birthday), the first player in the open era to win six US Open titles and the oldest champion here since Ken Rosewall in 1970. Djokovic, meanwhile, has joined Federer and Rod Laver as just the third player in the open era to reach all four grand slam finals in a single season. They’ve been on a collision course all year and it’s only fitting they meet for the last grand slam final of 2015. More to come.
Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s Kevin Mitchell’s preview of today’s final.
There is a compelling reason to want Roger Federer to win his sixth US Open men’s singles title here on Sunday, and it has nothing to do with the adoration of a champion whose aura needs no gilding.
The Swiss is a revolutionary, more William Tell than Jeremy Corbyn perhaps, but certainly the most adventurous practitioner in his sport, a 34-year-old champion playing again with the zest of a teenager, and nowhere is this rebirth more evident than in the demilitarised zone near the net, a space Federer has recently turned into his own personal stage.
When he charged into the service box to take Novak Djokovic’s second serve during his convincing win over the world No1 in Cincinnati last month, Federer did more than take the point. He shocked his adversary so deeply that the Serb struggled to disguise his contempt for what he clearly regards as disrespectful trickery.
He is not alone. Rafael Nadal, Federer’s master over the course of their long association but marginalised now, said before this tournament he doubted we would see the shot in a grand-slam tournament. He was wrong. Ask Stan Wawrinka, whom Federer dissembled with such artistry in their semi-final on Friday, bamboozling his compatriot nine minutes into the first of their three ultimately one-sided sets with just that shot.
No, Federer is prepared to gamble. All good to great players finetune their game, but he has rebuilt his. It started with saying goodbye to Paul Annacone and hello to Stefan Edberg. It was supplemented when he took the high-risk option of changing his racket to one with a more forgiving hitting area. The process has come to fruition here – based on a serve as reliable as a Swiss clock – with such strength that his 42nd encounter with Djokovic is surely an even-money proposition.
This article titled “US Open 2015: Djokovic beats Federer in men’s final – as it happened” was written by Bryan Armen Graham at Flushing Meadows (the match) and Tom Lutz (the rainy bits), for theguardian.com on Monday 14th September 2015 09.47 UTC