Defending US Open Champ Novak Djokovic Retires in 3rd Set vs. Stan Wawrinka

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2019

Stan Wawrinka, of Switzerland, celebrates after winning the first set against Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, during round four of the U.S. Open tennis championships Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Associated Press

Novak Djokovic won't defend his U.S. Open title after retiring in the third set against Stan Wawrinka, who was up 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 in the Round 4 matchup.   

Wawrinka needed only one break to win the first set against the No. 1 player in the world, and he kept the pressure on to come away with the victory. The Swiss star is now 4-4 against Djokovic in Grand Slams despite being just 2-15 against him in all other matches.

It's the first time since 2006 Djokovic has entered the U.S. Open and failed to reach the semifinals. 

The 32-year-old was seeking his third major title of the season—something he's accomplished twice in his career—but fell short of even reaching the quarters.

Wawrinka was on top of his game from the start of this match, keeping up on the scoreboard despite some excellent shots from his opponent:

As good as Djokovic was, Wawrinka was simply better and made great adjustments throughout the match:

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While the No. 24 player in the world had been up and down to this point in 2019, there was no denying he was at the top of his game:

Wawrinka earned one break and saved three break points in the first set to win 6-4, but he truly showed his resolve in the second set by coming back from a 3-0 deficit. He ended up winning 22 of 29 service points in the set while eventually earning the 7-5 victory.

Three games into the third set, Djokovic couldn't overcome his shoulder pain and chose to retire.

It's a disappointing end to his Grand Slam season, but he produced yet another great year despite being limited at times by injuries.

Meanwhile, Wawrinka once again showed his ability to step up when it matters most. He hadn't won more than one match in any of his four tournaments since Roland Garros, but he's into the quarterfinals once again and is clearly a threat to go deeper.

With his domination on first serves Sunday (84 percent) and court coverage, the 34-year-old looked as good as ever.

He will match up against No. 5 Daniil Medvedev in the next round.