Novak Djokovic succumbed to his nerves in the crucial moments of his first Grand Slam final tonight, letting five set points slip away in the opening set and wasting another two set points in the second set. Ultimately, it was top-ranked Roger Federer who played his best when it mattered most, defeating his 20-year-old Serbian opponent 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.
For the first set and a half, Djokovic outplayed Federer from the baseline. Federer, however, weathered the storm and found an extra gear on his serve to close out the match in straight sets. The victory marks his 12th major title, only two off of Pete Sampras's record 14 Grand Slam titles.
Despite the loss, Djokovic has clearly entered the upper echelon of men's tennis and will almost certainly win his first major in 2008. He joins second-ranked Rafael Nadal as the truest threats to Federer's continued dominance. It is only a matter of time until Federer breaks the Sampras record; however, judging from the tennis we've seen in New York this week, lucky number 13 may be a bit harder to come by. --Wyman Meers