Novak Djokovic was "playing for history" and suffered from nerves in his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, according to previous champion Dominic Thiem, who backed the 34-year-old to return "stronger than ever" in 2022.

Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a single year, beating him 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's thrilling showpiece.

Djokovic was seen in tears during the third set as his hopes of adding the US Open to his run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year slipped away.

But Thiem tipped Djokovic to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat and return in 2022 even stronger.

"One unbelievable goal slipped out of his hands yesterday," Thiem told Stats Perform.

 

"I expect him to be as strong as ever in 2022. I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam.

"He [Djokovic] was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam.

"I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches. And at some points it's just getting to you. And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match.

"So, it can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore."

Thiem, who missed the tournament with a wrist injury that will rule him out until 2022, believes nerves were a factor in Djokovic's defeat but agreed with Medvedev's assessment of the Serbian as the greatest of all time – though he could not set him apart from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said of the trio locked on 20 major titles each.

"So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me.

"And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again."

Dominic Thiem believes Emma Raducanu's sensational US Open triumph might be the "greatest breakthrough performance of all time".

Raducanu, 18, overcame fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 on Saturday to cement her place in history.

Her triumph meant she became the first qualifier – male or female – in tennis history to win a grand slam final.

She did not lose a set in 10 matches across qualifying and the main draw, becoming the first player since Serena Williams in 2014 to win the US Open without dropping a single set.

Raducanu – whose first grand slam appearance only came at Wimbledon in June – was ranked 150th in the world before the US Open, but her stunning win in New York has seen her break into the top 30.

Thiem, who missed the men's tournament with a wrist injury, was in awe of Raducanu's stunning run at Flushing Meadows and says he can scarcely recall a more impressive breakthrough in the sport.  

"There were some other great achievements in the past but with Emma Raducanu, starting in the qualifiers and then playing such great tennis and making this incredible path, it's definitely, maybe, the greatest breakthrough performance of all time," he exclusively told Stats Perform.

 

"It's an incredible journey if you look at the stats. She didn't lose one set the whole tournament. She came from qualifying and she didn't even play one tie-break. That's simply amazing and something that was probably never witnessed before.

"And also the way she plays, her technique, the way she moves, somehow she brought it up to a new level for the whole game and it was great to see.

"But as well, her opponent, it was so fun to watch her. I was excited for it, watching every single point on TV. And it was great not only for women's tennis, but for all sports in general."

Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick faces a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hip injury.

Fitzpatrick, 38, was injured during Sunday's Week 1 20-16 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Washington have not given a timescale for his return but reports suggest he could be out for between six and eight weeks.

He was replaced against the Chargers by Taylor Heinicke, who will start Thursday's match against the New York Giants.

Heinicke's appearance on Thursday will be his first regular season start since 2018 but coach Ron Rivera believes he can handle the pressure.

"I think our guys will rally around him," Rivera told a media conference. "He plays a little bit like his hair's on fire and plays a little bit like a gunslinger.

"But I think he's matured a little bit. He understands what he has to do and how he has to do it. I'm excited to see what's going to happen."

Fourth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova needed three sets to edge past Stefanie Vogele in the round of 32 at the Luxembourg Open.

Russian Alexandrova was pushed to three sets by her Swiss opponent but ultimately outclassed Vogele to prevail 6-1 3-6 6-3 to book her place in the last 16.

She is joined there by compatriot Liudmila Samsonova, who overcame Misaki Doi 6-2 6-3, and eighth seed Alize Cornet, who beat Anastasia Potapova 6-4 6-2.

There were also wins for Clara Tauson, Jana Fett and Oceane Dodin.

At Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz in Slovenia, meanwhile, there were victories for Viktoria Kuzmova, Sorana Cirstea and Lucia Bronzetti.

Each of the top three wide receivers taken in the 2021 NFL Draft entered Week 1 of the season facing pertinent questions. Could Ja'Marr Chase shake off his drop-laden preseason and revive his rapport with Joe Burrow? Can DeVonta Smith excel despite his slender frame? Will Jaylen Waddle be able to mesh with Tua Tagovailoa again amid concerns over his college quarterback's arm strength?

It is important not to be a prisoner of the Week 1 moment. With the opening slate of games notorious for enticing observers into mistaken conclusions.

However, after all three played major roles in wins for the Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins, respectively, the answer to each of those queries is, for now, a confident yes.

The trio all found the endzone in their NFL debuts, making league history in the process.

Indeed, the 2021 season is the first in common-draft era in which three rookie wideouts that were each selected in the first round scored on a touchdown reception in Week 1.

And their performances provided plenty of encouragement they will each vindicate their lofty draft statuses.

Chase the ace

The highlight of Chase's 101-yard showing in Cincinnati's win over the Minnesota Vikings was a 50-yard touchdown catch from college team-mate Burrow on a perfectly thrown ball on which the fifth overall pick took advantage of soft coverage from Bashaud Breeland.

But a receiver whose ability to separate was questioned prior to the draft also excelled at getting free from coverage on third down. Registering a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on four of his seven targets, Chase finished the game with 14.43 burn yards per target -- ninth among receivers who were thrown to at least five times -- with an average depth of target of 15.7 yards.

His debut effort and the numbers he produced should raise hopes he can rely more on his route-running to beat defenders rather than the physical approach that defined his success at LSU.

Crimson Tide connection returns

Separating from defenders was never an issue for Waddle at the college level, with preseason concerns aimed more at his quarterback than the former Alabama star.

As a rookie, Tagovailoa did not produce much to suggest he would gel with a speedster who won his matchup with a defender on 78.1 per cent of his 2020 targets and averaged 19.96 burn yards per target to lead the Power 5 in his final year with the Crimson Tide.

Yet this pair of college team-mates also had their connection from 2019 cooking again as the Dolphins knocked off the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

They did so largely through intelligently adapting Waddle's traits to the short passing game, giving him chances to run after the catch and using him in motion to stretch and deceive the Patriots' defense, as they did on his touchdown that eventually proved the game-winner.

There was also a play that could have been plucked straight from Waddle's Alabama tape as he got a step on a defender while running vertically and worked his way back to the ball, leaping over the covering cornerback for a 36-yard reception.

With a burn on four of his six targets and 13.09 burn yards per target, Waddle's numbers did not quite match up to those of Chase but, if he continues to stress defenses working horizontally and vertically, he will be a substantial asset to the Miami passing game. 

Smith shreds Falcons

Waddle will have hot competition for the title of best Alabama receiver from this draft, though, at least if Smith continues on his early trajectory from the Eagles' 32-6 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons.

Open on six of his eight targets, Smith's six-catch, 71-yard showing was not one in which he relied on his excellent route-running ability, instead finding holes in the Falcons' zone coverage in a game where he was a favoured receiver for Jalen Hurts, who was second among quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts with a well-thrown ball percentage of 87.5.

Yet his 19-yard touchdown offered a snapshot of what he can do in that regard as he patiently released to the outside against man coverage, sending his defender into a pick play from tight end Zach Ertz. With open space now at his disposal, Smith accelerated before expertly tracking the ball into his grasp in the corner of the endzone.

For both Smith and Waddle, their early success was a continuation of how they performed in college, while Chase demonstrated encouraging progress in an area of the game considered to be a weakness.

Selecting a wide receiver in the top 10 is considered a gamble by many but the early payout from this trio suggests they may prove worth the risk.

Shock US Open champion Emma Raducanu has what it takes to win Wimbledon in the future, according to British great Virginia Wade.

Raducanu, 18, beat fellow debutant finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 on Saturday to become the first qualifier – male or female – in tennis history to win a grand slam final.

The British sensation – the youngest women's grand slam finalist since a 17-year-old Maria Sharapova took the title at Wimbledon in 2004 – did not lose a set in 10 matches across qualifying and the main draw, becoming the first player since Serena Williams in 2014 to win the US Open without dropping a single set.

The triumph also saw her become the first British woman to win a major tournament since Wade claimed the Wimbledon crown 44 years ago.

Raducanu reached the last 16 of this year's Wimbledon – her only other grand slam appearance – before pulling out of the competition due to medical reasons.

Wade, who was in attendance for the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium, believes Raducanu has all the attributes to follow in her footsteps and win British tennis' showpiece tournament during what she predicts will be a glittering career.

"I see her winning Wimbledon some time," Wade exclusively told Stats Perform. "I don't have a crystal ball, so I don't know when.

"I feel sure her time will come. She's just too good not to.

"Physically she's wonderful, she's the right height, has long legs, moves smoothly and is very quick from left to right.

"She's light on her feet, reads the ball well, her serve is terrific and her groundstrokes are solid.

"She's got balance out there and her concentration and determination are important factors as well."

 

Fernandez, 19, defeated top five trio Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka along with three-time major winner Angelique Kerber on her way to Saturday's final.

And although she succumbed to a straight sets defeat, Wade believes the Canadian, along with Raducanu, will dominate the women's game for years to come.

"They're both absolutely terrific players and they enchanted everybody," she added. "Everybody was thrilled with them.

"You only get these extra special players once in a decade or once every two decades.

"In the women's game we have a really solid block of really good players. In my mind there are six to 10 players who will have to share the hardware in the next five to 10 years because they are all good. It's impossible for someone to win them all.

"Emma and Leylah will have their fair share of winning, and probably more than the others, being at the top and being feared."

Trey Lance's first competitive game since 2019 was in keeping with his brief but spectacular college career. He threw a touchdown pass and he won.

The rookie third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers did not contribute much to victory beyond that five-yard throw to Trent Sherfield, Jimmy Garoppolo leading the Niners to a 41-33 victory over the Detroit Lions. Yet he was happy to see the field in meaningful action having seen his 2020 season with North Dakota State wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I had no idea when or if I was going to play," Lance said in his post-game media conference.

"Obviously I was hoping I would get to get on the field and just help, but at the same time, my role is just to be ready whenever my name is called.

"It just felt great to be out there again, and obviously it feels good to be 1-0."

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Lance's involvement: "I actually didn't think we would do it on the first drive, but you get into some situations, and that's all play calling is to tell you the truth.

"We'll always have some stuff in for Trey. When your number two quarterback has a skillset that the number one doesn't do in terms of being a threat to run, there's always an option of different plays you can run.

"So we'll have that up at all times while Trey's here. While he's the number two that'll always be an option. But if the one ever gets hurt, then you have to open everything up."

Shanahan confirmed cornerback Jason Verrett is believed to have suffered a torn ACL, his injury preceding a Lions comeback effort from 41-17 down that set up a nervy finish for San Francisco.

"It's crushing. I'm hoping for the best, but it's crushing," said Shanahan, who expects recent cornerback signing Josh Norman to be ready for Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles but also confirmed he had spoken with Richard Sherman and that bringing him back is a possibility.

The Chicago Bears played both quarterbacks in their season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but Justin Fields was the only one to score a touchdown in a game that will increase calls to start him over Andy Dalton.

Dalton saw the vast majority of the snaps as the Bears were swept aside 34-14 by the Rams on Sunday, throwing for 206 yards and an interception.

However, Bears fans saw an exciting glimpse of their future as Fields scampered in for a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He also completed a pair of passes for 10 yards.

Head coach Matt Nagy confirmed using both quarterbacks was always in their plans, despite him having declared Dalton the starter, but did not offer any hint as to whether Fields will see more game time in the coming weeks after his intriguing cameo.

"We had the plan and we stuck to our plan," Nagy said. "We knew where and when we were going to use him and we stuck to that.

"And so, we'll see where that goes and how we do it. But I think we all understand that for us, strategically, we'll see where we go with that — without giving anything away.

"Really, the very first play when he went out there and was able to make a throw — and that was an RPO. So he made a decision to throw the ball off of a look that we had.

"So right there to start the game, I thought that was great. And then he was involved on the sideline. And then when we got down into the red zone at times, we had a couple things in for him that worked and some that didn't work. But when he got down in the red zone, he did some great things there, too.

"So we've just got to keep having him grow and keep staying positive. But he's certainly a weapon."

Sean McVay "loved everything" Matthew Stafford did in his spectacular debut for the Los Angeles Rams as he led them to a 34-14 win over the Chicago Bears.

In the first regular-season game with fans at SoFi Stadium, Stafford delighted a packed house with a display of why the Rams traded two first-round picks to acquire him from the Detroit Lions.

Stafford completed 20 of 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, posting a passer rating of 156.1, the highest ever by a player in his debut with a new team. 

And McVay could hardly have been more effusive in his praise of his new quarterback.

"I think it was just his steady demeanour throughout the course of the game," McVay said. "Just like you had seen in practice and seen from afar, but I think the first drive of the second half I thought was most impressive.

"But then I'm thinking about what an unbelievable job he did progressing, finding Robert Woods on the last touchdown, so there were multiple things but I think the overall game management and I think the expectation. You could just see there was a look in his eye. He had confidence in his team-mates.

"He expected to play well and he did a great job. It's hard to say there was one thing. I loved everything he did tonight."

Stafford's second throw of the game saw him hit Van Jefferson on a 67-yard touchdown throw on which he booted to his left off the play-fake, flipped his hips back to the right sideline and unfurled a perfect ball to find the second-year receiver on a deep post route.

"I think it was a great job by him being able to flip his hips and make an unbelievable throw," McVay added.

"I think that's kind of one of those things – he's gifted. He's got a great ability to be able to change his arm slot and make all types of throws, whether it be short, intermediate or down the field.

"You're not limited in anything you can do in the pass game. Hopefully, we'll continue to build on options and opportunities that we have moving forward."

Jameis Winston starred as the New Orleans Saints opened the season with a "home" game played more than 500 miles away from the Superdome. 

In discussing his team's 38-3 pounding of the Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville, Florida, the quarterback's thoughts kept returning to New Orleans and the surrounding area.

Asked about his feelings regarding Sunday's game, Winston answered by illuminating the challenges facing the Saints' home community in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which forced the team to relocate its operations to Dallas two weeks ago. 

"We did that for them," Winston said. "We knew how much it would mean to get a victory. They've been through so much, and for us to celebrate this victory with them is amazing.

"Hats off to [the people of New Orleans] for their resilience. They inspired us to go out there and ball."

No one balled quite like Winston, who had five touchdown passes in the New Orleans rout as he made his first start for the Saints after serving as the backup to Drew Brees last season.

Winston said the Saints remained composed despite the many distractions thrown their way in recent weeks, and it paid off Sunday. 

"We were prepared. That was the message today," he said. "My trainer texted me this morning that 'pressure is for the unprepared'.

"I think that one thing we consistently did as a unit with Sean [Payton, the head coach] and with [administrative director] Jay Romig, along with our entire organization, is that despite the adversity of being in Dallas and all that we're dealing with at home, our mindset stayed the same.

"We prepared to play against Green Bay and prepared to play the best football that we could, and we did that."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter from 2015-19, Winston refused to revel in his return to the spotlight after outshining Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. 

"Coach [Payton] says all the time that we're in a race to get better," Winston said. "We are going to celebrate this game today, but there are people dealing with way worse than me right now. There are still people in Louisiana without power.

"I'll probably reflect on it after our season is over, but right now we have to keep getting better. There's some things that I won't like when I watch the film tonight, so we still have to get better."

Next up for the Saints: a true road game Sunday at the Carolina Panthers followed by a trip to New England to face the Patriots in Week 3.

Francisco Lindor hit three home runs, including the game-winner in the eighth inning, as the New York Mets defeated slumping city rivals the New York Yankees 7-6 in a contentious finale to the Subway Series. 

After the visiting Yankees scored twice in the first inning of the MLB showdown at Citi Field, Lindor's three-run homer while hitting left-handed off Clarke Schmidt gave the Mets the lead in the second on Sunday.

After a Gleyber Torres homer brought the Yankees within a run in the top of the sixth, Lindor answered in the bottom half with a solo shot from the right side and appeared to be having some words with the visitors as he rounded the bases. 

That sparked a reaction from Giancarlo Stanton after he tied it up with a two-run homer in the seventh, as he all but stopped at Lindor's shortstop position while rounding the bases, prompting both dugouts and bullpens to clear before order was restored. 

But Lindor had the last laugh with a left-handed drive to right in the eighth that had the shortstop pointing to his bicep as he rounded first base. 

"Coming up to the box, I did want to hit a home run," he told reporters afterward.

It was the Mets' fourth win in six games against their cross-borough rivals, the first time since 2013 they have won the season series against the Yankees, who have lost 12 of their past 15 games to fall a game behind the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays for the two American League (AL) Wild Card spots.

 

Scherzer makes history as Dodgers dominate Padres

Max Scherzer and the Los Angeles Dodgers allowed only one San Diego Padres runner to reach base in an 8-0 rout, which completed a three-game series sweep. Scherzer retired the first 22 batters he faced before Eric Hosmer doubled with one out in the eighth inning to break up the perfect game. Three innings earlier, Scherzer got Hosmer to swing and miss on a 3-2 changeup for the 3,000th strikeout of his career, becoming the 19th pitcher in MLB history to reach that milestone. 

After the Red Sox levelled their game with the Chicago White Sox on an Alex Verdugo sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth, the latter won it 2-1 on Leury Garcia's two-out walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning. 

Home runs by Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman in the seventh inning gave the Atlanta Braves a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins. Atlanta gained a crucial game on the second-placed Philadelphia Phillies. 

The San Francisco Giants improved their MLB-best record to 93-50 with a 6-5 defeat of the Chicago Cubs for their seventh win in a row. 

The Milwaukee Brewers followed up Saturday's no-hitter by crushing the Cleveland Indians 11-1 as Kolten Wong and Avisail Garcia each hit a pair of homers. 

 

Rays blow chances to beat Tigers

The Tampa Bay Rays blew two chances to beat the Tigers before losing 8-7 to drop two of three in the series at Detroit. After the Rays scored four in the top of the eighth to take a 5-2 lead, Detroit tied it with three in the bottom of the inning. The Rays scored two more in the top of the 10th to go up 7-5 before Jeimer Candelario's two-run homer extended the game to the 11th. There, J.P. Feyereisen walked three batters, including Robbie Grossman to force in the winning run for Detroit and drop Tampa Bay to 6-12 in extra-inning games.

 

Gurriel, Blue Jays destroy Orioles

Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s fourth grand slam of the season jump-started a 22-7 Toronto demolition of the Baltimore Orioles. Gurriel became the first Blue Jays player to score five times and drive in seven in a single game. Among other Blue Jays highlights, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. tied Shohei Ohtani for the MLB lead with his 44th homer and Teoscar Hernandez hit the Jays' second grand slam of the day in a 10-run third inning. The 22 runs scored were the second most in franchise history. Between the seventh inning of Saturday's game two and the first three of Sunday's demolition, the Blue Jays set a new MLB record for runs scored across a four-inning span with 27.

 

Sunday's results 

San Francisco Giants 6-5 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 4-3 Oakland Athletics
Toronto Blue Jays 22-7 Baltimore Orioles
Colorado Rockies 5-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Detroit Tigers 8-7 Tampa Bay Rays
Milwaukee Brewers 11-1 Cleveland Indians
Washington Nationals 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago White Sox 2-1 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 5-3 Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros 3-1 Los Angeles Angels
St Louis Cardinals 2-0 Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves 5-3 Miami Marlins
Toronto Blue Jays 11-2 Baltimore Orioles
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0 San Diego Padres
New York Mets 7-6 New York Yankees

 

Red Sox at Mariners

The Red Sox (81-64) and Mariners (77-66) open a series on Monday that could have significant implications in the AL Wild Card race. 

Matthew Stafford did his part in his Los Angeles Rams debut, leading his new team to a 34-14 win over the Chicago Bears.

After a dozen seasons with the hapless Detroit Lions, Stafford guided the Rams past the Bears in their season opener on Sunday.

It was exactly the type of performance the Rams had hoped for from the veteran quarterback, who completed 20 of 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. 

The 33-year-old Stafford appeared in complete control from the beginning, hitting Van Jefferson for a 67-yard touchdown on the Rams' third play from scrimmage. 

After field goals on their next two drives, Los Angeles answered a David Montgomery touchdown for the Bears late in the first half with another bomb from Stafford to open the second – this one a 56-yard TD to Cooper Kupp. 

Stafford's last touchdown came on a two-yard pass to Robert Woods with 3:17 remaining after a 12-play drive that ate up nearly half the fourth quarter. 

The other veteran quarterback getting a fresh start with a new team did not fare so well. 

Andy Dalton got the start for Chicago despite a persistent clamour for rookie Justin Fields throughout training camp and went 27-for-38 passing with 206 yards. 

Dalton was intercepted in the end zone on the Bears' first drive of the game, failed to convert a fourth down on the second drive and fumbled after being sacked the next time Chicago had the ball. 

Fields did get some snaps, rushing for a three-yard touchdown that briefly cut the lead to 20-14 late in the third quarter, but all that did was further inflame the quarterback controversy that will continue to be the talk of the Windy City. 

Patrick Mahomes produced a record-breaking performance to lead the Kansas City Chiefs' rallying win over the Cleveland Browns in their NFL season opener, the star hailed by Andy Reid and Tyreek Hill.

The Chiefs faced a 12-point deficit before quarterback Mahomes fuelled a 33-29 come-from-behind victory against the Browns on Sunday.

Mahomes threw a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter for reigning AFC champions the Chiefs, including a 75-yard pass to Hill that helped close the gap.

He completed 27 of his 36 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns as the former MVP made more NFL history.

The 25-year-old broke the record for most passing yards in NFL history through the first 50 games, while he also boasts the most passing touchdowns ever through the same amount of appearances.

"That's Patrick Mahomes being Patrick Mahomes," said Chiefs team-mate Hill. "There it is."

Chiefs head coach Reid added: "You love his attitude because he always feels like we're in it.

"He does such a great job with the guys around him. He's a great communicator during tough times on the sideline."

Mahomes led the Chiefs to their ninth win in the last 11 games in which they trailed by double-digit points.

"We think we can win no matter what the situation is," Mahomes said.

"Getting that play to Tyreek kind of got the crowd back into it," Mahomes continued. "When you're at Arrowhead [Stadium] and the crowd's rolling, it gets the defence going and it kind of translates to the offence."

Daniil Medvedev was relieved to close out his first grand slam title at the US Open after revealing he was cramping in his quest to conquer Novak Djokovic.

Medvedev blitzed world number one and 20-time major champion Djokovic 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the men's final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.

Djokovic's bid to become just the third man and first since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim a calendar Grand Slam, and to surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major men's titles, was emphatically ended by Medvedev.

Medvedev fired down 16 aces and hit 38 winners in a ruthless display on Arthur Ashe Stadium. However, the second seed conceded he was worried at the end of the third set as he tried to see off Djokovic.

Russian star Medvedev double-faulted twice in succession when his first championship point arrived and gave back one of those breaks to Djokovic, who closed to 5-4. But the former came out to serve again and again served a double on a championship point, though he had another in store and the Serb netted on the backhand.

"I definitely had it [pressure]," Medvedev – who lost to Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open final, having gone down to Nadal in the 2019 US Open showpiece – told reporters. "I started cramping at 5-3, I think because of the pressure at 5-2 where I had match points, I didn't make it. My legs were gone after 5-3. At 5-4, left leg, I almost couldn't walk. If you really look the replay, when I walked to the towel, my leg was just going behind. I was trying not to show it. If Novak feels it, it's not good.

"Again, 40-15, that's two match points. I was like, C'mon, go for an ace, just try to make it. I had a huge double-fault. Second one was like in the middle of the net. Okay, I have one more. Just try to make a first serve. I made it and I'm really happy."

Medvedev became the first Russian man to win a grand slam since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.

The 25-year-old also became the ninth different men's champion of the last 14 years in New York, including first-time major winners Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro. During the same time, the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon have each been claimed by four different men.

Medvedev – the second player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to lose just one set en route to the men's US Open crown after Nadal in 2010 – is the fifth player to clinch a slam final against Djokovic.

He is also the fourth player with four or more wins over Djokovic as world number one, after Nadal (nine), Federer (five) and Murray (five).

"It definitely makes it sweeter [beating a world number one for first major trophy]," Medvedev said. "I mean, a grand slam is a grand slam. I would win it against Botic [Van de Zandschulp] in the final, probably I would be same happy.

"For the confidence and for my future career, knowing that I beat somebody who was 27-0 in a year in grand slams, I lost to him in Australia, he was going for huge history, and knowing that I managed to stop him it definitely makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what is to come on hard courts so far, but let's see about other surfaces."

Medvedev was also asked about his celebration – the 13-time ATP Tour champion fell to the court after vanquishing Djokovic, with his eyes closed and tongue out.

It was in reference to FIFA's video game and the "dead fish" celebration.

"I like to play FIFA," he said. "I like to play PlayStation. It's called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you're going to do this. You're going to score a goal, you're up 5-0, you do this one.

"I talked to the guys in the locker, they're young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, That's legendary. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that's legendary. That's how I wanted to make it.

"Again, it's not because I want to be on the newspaper talking about FIFA celebration or whatever. I don't care. But I wanted to make it special for people to love, for my friends to love who I play FIFA with. I knew I'm going to make it. I got hurt a little bit. It's not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I'm happy I made it legendary for myself."

Sunday was eventful for the New Orleans Saints and star cornerback Marshon Lattimore. 

Hours after they opened the NFL season with a stunning 38-3 rout of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, reports emerged that Lattimore agreed to a lucrative five-year contract extension. 

NFL Network and ESPN reported the deal guarantees Lattimore at least $68.3million and could max out at $100m.

The former first round pick quote-tweeted a post about the extension from the official NFL Twitter account, adding only a money bag emoji. 

The news was not all good, though, as Lattimore injured his thumb during the game and reportedly will require surgery that could keep him out for multiple weeks. 

The 25-year-old apparently hurt himself in the first half against the Packers. 

He missed the Saints' first defensive series after half-time but returned to play with his right hand and forearm encased in a protective splint. 

Lattimore has been selected for the Pro Bowl in three of his four seasons with New Orleans and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017.

He led the NFL with five interceptions that season and has added five more picks over the last three years combined as quarterbacks have thrown fewer balls his way. 

 

Max Scherzer came close to throwing the 24th perfect game in MLB history on Sunday but had to settle for a milestone even more difficult to achieve. 

Los Angeles Dodgers star Scherzer became the 19th pitcher to reach 3,000 career strikeouts, hitting the magic number in the fifth inning of the World Series champions' 8-0 rout of the San Diego Padres. 

The man he struck out to reach that mark, Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer, was the only San Diego player to reach base. His one-out double to right field in the eighth ended Scherzer's bid to join the legendary Sandy Koufax as the only Dodgers to throw a perfect game. 

Scherzer was making just his eighth start for the storied franchise after arriving from the Washington Nationals in a trade at the end of July.

It is fair to say his new team is even more impressed than they were when they had to face him in previous years. 

"Obviously you see him from afar, dominating," Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts told reporters. "You face him a couple of times, he goes seven, eight innings every single time. But just to be playing behind him is so much more fun. I mean it’s just kind of amazing to watch greatness."

Though Scherzer has now allowed just a lone unearned run over his last four starts, he has rarely been as dominant as he was against the Padres.

Knowing he needed six strikeouts to reach 3,000, the right-handed ace fanned two batters in the first before producing an "immaculate inning" in the second – striking out all three men he faced on the minimum nine pitches. 

That put him one away from the mark and he finally got it in the fifth when Hosmer swung through a 3-2 changeup. 

"It's hard to describe the emotions of it," Scherzer said. "It’s an awesome achievement, awesome milestone. Not that many people have reached this milestone. ...

"I love strikeouts and to me this is a testament to durability to me going out there every single time, making my 30-plus starts a year, year in, year out.

"Everybody can have the ability to do this. But few have the durability to do this."

And only one player has reached 3,000 in fewer innings than Scherzer's 2,516: Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who did it in 2,470.2 innings. 

Scherzer started at least 30 games every year from 2009-2018 for the Nationals and Detroit Tigers, winning three Cy Young Awards in the process. 

His performance since moving to Los Angeles may well earn him a fourth this season, particularly if he keeps it up in the closing weeks as the Dodgers try to chase down the San Francisco Giants in the National League (NL) West. 

"I just can't imagine anyone being any better than this, especially with where we're at in the season," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Aaron Rodgers is hoping the Green Bay Packers can regroup following a "good kick in the you-know-where" in their blow-out loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Rodgers suffered the heaviest loss of his illustrious NFL career as the Packers – who have reached the NFC Championship Game in each of the last two campaigns – opened their season with a 38-3 rout at the hands of the Saints on Sunday.

After a tumultuous offseason, dominated by Rodgers' desire to leave the Packers, the reigning MVP had one of the worst outings of his career.

The superstar quarterback finished with just 133 passing yards (lowest since 2015), two interceptions and a 36.8 passer rating (lowest since 2014).

That passer rating is the lowest by a reigning NFL MVP in his first game of the subsequent season.

After the 35-point demolition, Rodgers said: "This is a good kick in the you-know-where to hopefully get us going in the right direction."

Rodgers added: "They beat us. They played way better than us. We played bad. I played bad.

"Uncharacteristic of how we've practiced in training camp, obviously how I've played over the years. This is hopefully an outlier moving forward. We'll find out next week."

"I don't even know how many stops we had on their offense the entire day," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said.

"It was just an all-around poor performance. That starts with myself. Obviously didn't get these guys ready to play."

Despite all appearances as he ploughed through the draws at all four grand slams this year, world number one Novak Djokovic does have a breaking point. 

Djokovic hit it on Sunday, falling 6-4 6-4 6-4 to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final as the 20-time major champion finally proved unable to will himself out of an early hole. 

It was the fifth successive match in which Djokovic had dropped the opening set at Flushing Meadows, and the Serb superstar acknowledged afterward all of the energy he expended to get to the brink of the first men's calendar Grand Slam –since 1969 and a record 21st major title might finally have caught up with him. 

"Could be, could be [time spent on court a factor]. I had more hours on the court spent from Daniil, that's for sure," Djokovic said at his post-match news conference. "But was also emotionally very demanding period for me in the last five, six months. Slams and Olympics and playing at home in Belgrade.

"Everything was coming together for me here and kind of accumulating all the emotions that I've been through.

"Unfortunately I didn't make it in the final step. But when you draw a line, you have to be very satisfied with the year. Three wins, three slams and a final. For the last couple of years I've been very transparent and vocal about my goals, to play my best tennis at slams. I'm managing to do that.

"Of course, I was short today for another slam title, but I have to be proud with everything that my team and I have achieved. And in tennis we learn very quickly how to turn the next page.

"Very soon there are some more challenges, more things that are coming up. I have learned to overcome these kind of tough losses in the finals of slams, the ones that hurt the most."

This defeat sent a range of emotions surging through the emotional 34-year-old as he sat courtside while awaiting the trophy presentation. 

Asked what was going through his mind at that moment, Djokovic's initial answer was succinct. 

"Relief," he said. "I was glad it was over because the build up for this tournament and everything that mentally, emotionally I had to deal with throughout the tournament in the last couple of weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to handle.

"I was just glad that finally the run is over. At the same time I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they've created for me on the court."

Djokovic heaped praise on his opponent, saying he expects Medvedev to win more grand slams in the years ahead after the Russian broke through for his first.

That inevitably sparked thoughts of the coming generational change in the men's game, dominated for so long by Djokovic, Rafael Nadal (35) and Roger Federer (40).

With an astonishing 60 grand slam titles between them, their eventual departure from the stage will open up opportunities for Medvedev, Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev and other younger players. 

Djokovic insisted he is not quite done yet, but he does believe that transition already is in progress. 

"The older guys are still hanging on," he said. "We're still trying to shine the light on the tennis world as much as we possibly can.

"I'm speaking on my own behalf. I still want to keep going, try to win more slams, play for my country. Those are the things that motivate me the most I think at this point.

"But the new generation, if you want to call them this way, is not anyone new. It's already current, established. Of course, they are going to take over.

"I think tennis is in good hands because they're all nice guys and very, very good, high-quality tennis players. They got something to offer on and off the court.

"We are hoping that the transition will be smooth in terms of the attention and the popularity of this sport. It's very important.

"We all, of course, want to win on the court, but at the same time we all at the top represent this sport. We need to be aware of that, take this responsibility and try to bring more fans to the world of tennis.

"At the end of the day that's what counts and that's what keeps our sport alive."

Just when the Cleveland Browns thought they were in position to open the NFL season with a statement win, Patrick Mahomes did what Patrick Mahomes does. 

The Kansas City Chiefs star threw for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the reigning AFC champions edged the Browns 33-29 on Sunday.

Mahomes completed 27 of his 36 passes for 337 yards and three interceptions as the former MVP made more NFL history.

The 25-year-old broke the record for most passing yards in NFL history through first 50 games, while he also boasts the most passing touchdowns ever through the same amount of appearances.

Cleveland had built a 22-10 half-time lead, with Baker Mayfield directing three scoring drives that led to Nick Chubb finding the end zone twice and Jarvis Landry running in another touchdown before the break. 

Mayfield finished 21 of 28 passing for 321 yards, but had one critical mistake late. With the Browns near midfield and just over a minute to play, the Chicago quarterback scrambled to avoid pressure before throwing a pass up for grabs to the left sideline. Mike Hughes leaped to intercept the ball and the Chiefs ran out the clock from there. 

Mahomes, meanwhile, was poised as ever as he led the Chiefs to their ninth win in the last 11 games in which they trailed by double digits. 

It started with a 14-play drive to open the second half, capped by an 11-yard TD pass to his favourite target Travis Kelce. 

The signature moment, though, was a stunning 75-yard deep strike to Tyreek Hill that brought the Chiefs within two early in the fourth quarter. 

The Browns botched a punt deep in their own territory on the ensuing drive and Mahomes hit Kelce for the go-ahead touchdown three plays later. 

It was the kind of turnaround Cleveland fans have grown all too accustomed to over the years, particularly in season openers. 

The Browns have not won in Week 1 since 2004 and are now 0-16-1 since. 

Winston, Saints crush Packers

Aaron Rodgers dominated the headlines throughout the NFL offseason but he was upstaged in a big way as the season began. 

Jameis Winston threw for five touchdowns as Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were kept from the end zone altogether in a 38-3 New Orleans Saints rout. 

Rodgers completed just 15 of 28 passes for 133 yards and threw two interceptions. He had only five interceptions all of last season on the way to being named NFL MVP for the third time.

Winston took over the starting role in New Orleans from another future Hall of Famer, the retired Drew Brees, and was brilliant at the Superdome. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 148 yards without an interception or a sack. 

In a matchup of two young quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa got the better of his former Alabama team-mate Mac Jones as the Miami Dolphins edged the New England Patriots 17-16 on the road.

While the rookie Jones had the better numbers of the two with 29 of 39 passing, 281 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, the Patriots repeatedly had to settle for field goals. 

Tagovailoa, meanwhile, ran one touchdown in himself and threw for another in the third quarter that provided the eventual winning margin.

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