Stan Wawrinka US Open trophy
Stan Wawrinka is happy as can be after lifting his first US Open titleReuters

A year after Stan Wawrinka stunned Novak Djokovic for the French Open title, the "Stanimal" did it again, showing why he should be in the conversation along with the "Big Four" of tennis by overpowering the world number one to clinch his maiden US Open title.

While this might not have been a Djokovic at the peak of his powers, this was Wawrinka at his big-match best, coming back from losing the first set to win 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in a men's singles final that lasted three hours and 55 minutes and was tinged with gamesmanship and controversy.

The gamesmanship, and as a result a talking point in the final, came via Djokovic, in the fourth set, soon after he went a break down. While medical timeouts are not allowed for cramp, a struggling Djokovic seemed to be given the go-ahead, much to the displeasure of Wawrinka, the fans and everyone else watching this otherwise-wonderful final.

"That was another example of a complete abuse of the rules," John McEnroe, commentating on the match, said. "It's up to the officials to do something about it, and they just don't have the guts to do it."

Djokovic said a "Sorry man" to Wawrinka as he received treatment on his foot, but even that obvious gamesmanship was not enough to stop the Swiss from winning his third Grand Slam title.

When Djokovic took the opening set through a tiebreak, after initially giving away the initiative, having gone up a break, you felt this might be another masterclass from the Serbian, one where he proves to be way too strong for any other opponent when it comes to big match play, especially considering the 29-year-old has a 51-0 record in New York when he wins the opening set.

However, Wawrinka, as he showed in the French Open final against the same opponent last year, has a few big-match plays up his sleeve as well, and when he brings them out, even the best tennis player in the world struggles to find an answer.

With the second set in the bag, after some sometimes-brilliant-sometimes-iffy play, the match was poised for the man who really wants to take it. Wawrinka looked like being that man when he broke the Djokovic serve early in the third set, only to give away the advantage as the world number one levelled proceedings at 3-3.

However, the Swiss would not be denied and a sliced backhand that went wide in the 12th game, gave Wawrinka the lead in the match for the first time.

With the final and title slipping out of his hands, Djokovic pulled all the tricks the book to try and stay alive, but all that did was push the crowd against him just that little bit more. With momentum, confidence and I-am-never-going-to-let-this-go-now in his favour, Wawrinka broke early, held his serves and when a shot went long on match point, held his arms aloft in celebration as the entire Arthur Ashe Stadium stood up to applaud a great champion.

Also read