Novak Djokovic Faces Daniil Medvedev in U.S. Open Men’s Final

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Jesus Jiménez

Credit…Ben Solomon for The New York Times

The last time Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev met in a U.S. Open final, Medvedev ruined Djokovic’s ambitious plans for 2021.

Djokovic was one title away from completing the calendar Grand Slam, having already won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon that year. But Medvedev defeated Djokovic for the U.S. Open title in straight sets.

Now they meet again at the same tournament, also with a championship on the line. There’s no calendar Grand Slam on the line this time, after Carlos Alcaraz defeated Djokovic over the summer at Wimbledon. But if Djokovic wins on Sunday, it will be his third Grand Slam of the year, having won the Australian Open and the French Open, and it would be his 24th Grand Slam title.

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Medvedev said Friday that defeating Djokovic this time around will be harder than it was in 2021, adding that Djokovic tends to find ways to improve after losing.

“When he loses, he’s never the same after,” Medvedev said. “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.”

But a 24th Grand Slam title won’t come easy for Djokovic, either. Medvedev reached the final after upsetting Alcaraz in the semifinals, and Medvedev defeated Djokovic the last time they played, in March at a tournament in Dubai.

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Djokovic said on Friday that he would approach the final the way he does any other match, “with intention to win.”

“I’ll play my opponent knowing that it’s going to be the toughest challenge, without a doubt,” Djokovic said.

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