Sports

NEW YORK – Stan Wawrinka became the oldest US Open men’s champion in 46 years when he defeated world number one Novak Djokovic to claim a third Grand Slam title on Sunday.

Wawrinka, the 31-year-old third seed, triumphed 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 after almost four hours of high-intensity tennis, NDTV reported.

He even held his nerve when the final threatened to erupt into controversy after Djokovic twice called medical timeouts in the fourth set.

Wawrinka is the oldest winner of the men’s tournament since 35-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1970 and the first over 30 to take the title since Pete Sampras in 2002.

It was the Swiss player’s first New York title, following his breakthrough 2014 Australian Open triumph and 2015 Roland Garros crown.

On both those occasions, Djokovic had been the fall-guy, losing in Melbourne in the quarter-finals and ending as runner-up in Paris.

Djokovic, the 2011 and 2015 champion, had been seeking a third Slam of the year and 13th major of his career.

But the 29-year-old Serb finished runner-up in New York for the fourth time after paying a heavy price for converting just three of 17 break points.

Wawrinka, who had to save a match point to beat unheralded Dan Evans in the third round, committed 51 unforced errors but crucially smashed 46 winners past his opponent.

The final started against a sombre but defiant background with Broadway star Norm Lewis delivering a stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, a poignant performance on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Djokovic, playing in his 21st Grand Slam final and seventh in New York, was quickest out of the blocks.

He broke for 2-0 having won the first point of the game with two extreme, against-the-odds retrievals.

Trailing 2-5, Wawrinka, who had spent the best part of nine hours more than Djokovic getting to the final, saved two set points.

The Serb was made to pay for his wastefulness as the Swiss suddenly found his range, breaking back in the ninth game off a Djokovic double fault.

But Djokovic glided untroubled through the tie-break as Wawrinka’s serve fell apart.