Follow live updates on the U.S. Open men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev.
From the day the men’s singles draw came out, the path for Novak Djokovic to reach yet another U.S. Open final seemed clear, and seemed to set up for a showdown with Carlos Alcaraz, which would have been a rematch of this year’s Wimbledon final.
This U.S. Open men’s final will get a rematch — just not between Djokovic and Alcaraz. Daniil Medvedev of Russia, after defeating Alcaraz on Friday night in four sets, will play Djokovic on Sunday at 4 p.m. Eastern for the championship.
It will be a rematch of the 2021 U.S. Open final, which Medvedev won, stopping Djokovic from completing a calendar Grand Slam that year.
Here’s what you need to know about the match on Sunday:
Djokovic and Medvedev took different paths to the final.
On paper, it would seem that Djokovic has battered his way through to the championship match. He won five of his six matches in straight sets. But he has faced some formidable opposition along the way. In the third round, Djokovic ran into trouble when he dropped the first two sets to Laslo Djere, a fellow Serbian. But Djokovic was able to will his way back to win, wrapping up at around 1:30 a.m.
In the quarterfinals, Djokovic faced Taylor Fritz, the highest ranked American man, and in the semifinals, he took on Ben Shelton, a rising young American.
The road to the final has been slightly bumpier for Medvedev than Djokovic. Two of Medvedev’s matches were pushed to four sets, in the second round against Christopher O’Connell and again in the fourth round against Alex de Minaur.
Medvedev’s’ toughest opposition came in the semifinals on Friday, when he played Alcaraz. After the first set went to a tiebreaker, it seemed like fans were about to settle in for a long night. But Medvedev dominantly took the second set, 6-1. Alcaraz won the third but could not gain more traction than that, sending Medvedev to the final.
Medvedev played spoiler in 2021.
Medvedev and Djokovic have been in a U.S. Open final before. Two years ago, Djokovic was looking to complete the calendar Grand Slam, having won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon all in one year (he also competed in the Tokyo Olympics that year, but did not medal and thus lost his chance for a Golden Slam).
All Djokovic needed to complete the Grand Slam was win the U.S. Open.
But Medvedev spoiled the party. Medvedev went on to win the 2021 U.S. Open final in straight sets, keeping Djokovic from completing the calendar slam.
The match was bizarre at times, and in it, Djokovic displayed emotions fans aren’t used to seeing. At one point in the third set, Djokovic covered his face with a towel and then appeared to begin crying and shaking, a sign of how much completing the calendar slam meant to him.
Medvedev said on Friday that Djokovic finds ways to improve after losses, making this year’s final more difficult.
“When he loses, he’s never the same after,” Medvedev said, referring to the 2021 final. “He’s going to be 10 times better than he was that day, and I have to be, if I want to still beat him, 10 times better than I was that day.”
Djokovic leads their head-to-head.
Djokovic and Medvedev have played each other 14 times, and Djokovic has had the advantage with nine wins. Their most recent matchup was in March at a tournament in Dubai, which Medvedev won, 6-4, 6-4.
While Medvedev was able to spoil Djokovic’s shot at the Grand Slam in 2021, Medvedev acknowledged on Friday night that playing Djokovic won’t be easy.
“Novak is going to be his best version on Sunday,” Medvedev said. “And I have to be the best-ever version of myself if I want to try to beat him.”
Djokovic is looking for No. 24.
Anytime Djokovic plays in a Grand Slam final, there is the potential for history to unfold. With 23 Grand Slam titles, Djokovic has surpassed Rafael Nadal, who has 22, and Roger Federer, with 20.
With Federer now retired and Nadal away from the game because of an injury, Djokovic has the chance to distance himself from his counterparts in the Big Three of men’s tennis. But Djokovic said on Friday night that he has tried not to focus too much on the numbers.
“I’m aware of it, and of course I’m very proud of it,” he said. “But again, I don’t have much time nor do I allow myself to reflect on these things.”
Djokovic recalled a similar historical weight when he lost the 2021 U.S. Open final, and said he doesn’t want that to happen again.
“I’ll try to just focus on what needs to be done and tactically prepare myself for that match,” he said.
Keep an eye on Medvedev’s return position.
Those who have been more focused this tournament on players like Frances Tiafoe, Carlos Alcaraz, and Ben Shelton, may have one big question on their minds when they watch Medvedev play: Why does he stand so far back from the baseline to return serves?
It might look like a disadvantage to Medvedev, but he uses the position in his favor. By standing so far away from the baseline, sometimes up to 20 feet, Medvedev gives himself more time to return the serve. He also uses the tactic as a tool to strengthen his positioning during the point itself; by starting far behind the baseline, he all but guarantees that he will move forward as the point develops.
The strategy, of course, has its cons. By standing so far back and taking more time, Medvedev leaves more court space open and gives his opponents more time to get into an advantageous position for their next stroke after the serve.
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Can You Connect These Memorable Characters With Their Novels?
Welcome to Lit Trivia, the Book Review’s multiple-choice quiz designed to test your knowledge of books and their authors. This week’s installment asks you to identify memorable characters from mid-20th-century novels. After the last question, you’ll find a list of books highlighted in the quiz.
The Book Review Quiz Bowl appears on the Books page every week with a new topic. Click here for the archive of past quizzes.
Modern Masculinity Is Broken. She Knows How to Fix It.
With the arrival of her part memoir, part manifesto “How to Be a Woman” in 2011, Caitlin Moran established herself as one of her generation’s funniest and most fearless feminist voices. Moran, who is 48 and who first made her mark in the early 1990s as a wunderkind music journalist for British publications, has published four ribald and emotionally honest books of nonfiction and two novels since then and has continued to work as a columnist at The Times of London. Now, with her new book, “What About Men?” Moran turns her eye to what she sees as the limited and limiting discussions around modern masculinity. It’s a book she felt duty-bound to write. “All the women that I know on similar platforms,” Moran says, speaking about fellow writers, “we’re out there mentoring young girls and signing petitions and looking after the younglings. The men of my generation with the same platforms have not done that. They are not having a conversation about young men. So given that none of them have written a book that addresses this, muggins here is going to do it.”
There’s a lot of generalizing in your book when it comes to men: They’re obsessed with band T-shirts and emotionally inarticulate and constantly talking about their balls. Is it possible that relying so heavily on those kinds of jokey stereotypes and clichés risks undercutting the deeper points you’re trying to make about the need to open up possibilities for how we think and talk about masculinity? I’m a mainstream writer. If I’m going to start talking about a difficult idea, I want to approach it in the most successful way possible. You need to start with a generalization that is going to get people to go either, “Yes, I recognize myself in that,” or, “No, I don’t agree.” Maybe a lot of people are going, “Men are emotionally literate, they can talk to each other,” but I sat down to watch “The Bear,” which has been lauded everywhere, and it’s about men who can’t talk about their emotions. I see that as a far more clichéd depiction than anything that I’ve done in this book.
Part of the framing of your book is that there’s not enough discussion about young men’s struggling to adapt to changing ideas about masculinity. I feel as if that’s a big topic of conversation these days. So what is the fresh thinking that you’re bringing to it? Feminism has a stated objective, which is the political, social, sexual and economic equality of women. With men, there isn’t an objective or an aim. Because there isn’t, what I have observed is that the stuff that is getting the most currency is on the conservative side. Men going: “Our lives have gotten materially worse since women started asking for equality. We need to reset the clock. We need to have power over women again.” We are talking about the problems of women and girls at a much higher level than we are about boys and men. We need to identify the problems and work out what we want the future to look like for men in a way that women have already done for themselves.
You used to write a lot of celebrity profiles. Can you tell me a good anecdote about a famous person that you’ve never told before? The New York Times would never publish it. Absolutely filthy.
Try me. [Moran tells an epically filthy story about a British one-hit wonder from the 1990s.] You’re not printing that, are you?
How do you think the public discussion of feminism has changed since “How to Be a Woman”? I think the younger generation of feminists are even more open-minded and openhearted and sincere in what they do. But the downside is that a lot of the humor and the lightheartedness and the ability to ask a question about an idea has gone. The thing that I observe in younger women and activists is that they’re scared of going online and using the wrong word or asking the wrong question. As a result, we’re not having the free flow of ideas and questions that makes a movement optimal. We appear to have reinvented religion to a certain extent: the idea that there is a sentient thing watching you and that if you do something wrong, it will punish you. God is very much there in social media. I feel that having been born in an era before social media, I grew up godless, and it made me a lot freer than my daughters’ generation.
What’s an idea that people are afraid to talk about more openly? Trans issues. In the U.K., you are seen to be on one of two sides. It’s the idea that you could be a centrist and talk about it in a relaxed, humorous, humane way that didn’t involve two groups of adults tearing each other to pieces on the internet.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity from two conversations.
David Marchese is a staff writer for the magazine and the columnist for Talk. He recently interviewed Alok Vaid-Menon about transgender ordinariness, Joyce Carol Oates about immortality and Robert Downey Jr. about life after Marvel.
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