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Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal for his first U.S. Open title

by Derrick Johnson on September 13, 2011

It's hard to have a better year than Novak Djokovic has had in 2011. The No. 1-ranked tennis player captured his third Grand Slam title of the year on Monday, winning the U.S. Open by beating defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1.

Djokovic, who had come back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in the semi-final on Saturday, was seemingly in control from the start. However, after losing the third set to a tiebreak, his body was beginning to cramp up and it looked like he may be headed for a devastating defeat. Instead, he came back and dominated the fourth set to claim victory.

The match was in stark contrast to last year, when it was Nadal who bested Djokovic in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was the the 24-year-old Serb's first U.S. Open title, and he says the biggest difference between this year and last year has been his attitude.

"I guess it just clicked in my head. Through the last couple of years, I didn't change my game in any major way. … But I'm hitting shots that maybe I wasn't hitting," he told the Associated Press. "I'm going for it. I'm more aggressive."

If one looks more closely at Djokovic's year, it becomes even more impressive. He started it off by winning 43 consecutive matches, and has lost only two all year, one to Federer in the French Open semifinals and one to Andy Murray – both players are ranked in the top five in the world. With his latest win, he also becomes only the second man to beat both Federer and Nadal on the way to a Grand Slam title, the AP reports.

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