NEW YORK — Thrilled to win a point in the U.S. Open final, and bent on proving a point, Novak Djokovic leaped and roared and threw an uppercut, then glared at some of the thousands of spectators pulling for Roger Federer.
After winning another point in that game, Djokovic nodded as he smiled toward the stands. And moments later, Djokovic shook his right arm, bloodied by an early fall, and screamed, "Yes! Yes!" to celebrate a missed forehand by Federer.
Djokovic appeared to be all alone out there in Arthur Ashe Stadium, trying to solve Federer while also dealing with the thousands of fans pulling for the 17-time major champion proclaimed "arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport" by the stadium announcer during prematch introductions.
In the end, Djokovic handled everything in a thrill-a-minute final on a frenetic night. Frustrating Federer with his relentless defense and unparalleled returning, Djokovic took control late and held on for a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory Sunday to earn his second U.S. Open title, third major championship of the year and 10th Grand Slam trophy in all.
"It's quite an incredible evening for me," Djokovic said.
The victory did not come easily, and it didn't come quickly. The final was delayed more than three hours by rain.
The top-ranked Serb, 28, made all four Grand Slam finals this year. His loss was to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open. This is the second time he has won three in a year. He joins Federer as only men in the Open era, which began in 1968, to win three of four Grand Slams in a season multiple times.
Djokovic becomes the fifth player in the Open era with at least 10 Grand Slam titles, joining Federer (17), Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal (14 each) and Bjorn Borg (11).
Djokovic also topped Federer in the Wimbledon final, and in similar fashion to Sunday, dropping the second set and taking the next two.
Djokovic had been just 1-4 in U.S. Open title matches.
"I'm enjoying this year more than previous years because I'm a husband and father," he said. "Makes it even sweeter."
The second-seeded Federer has not won a major title since the 2012 Wimbledon, but many believe that at 34, he is playing some of his best tennis.
Federer dropped one set at Wimbledon through the semifinals, and at the U.S. Open he didn't drop a set until the final. Entering the final, he had lost 52 games (including just two on his serve), and even if he had lost the maximum number of games in the final, he would still have dropped fewer games than he did in his past three full U.S. Open runs in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
"I love the sport," Federer said after the match in his on-court interview. "I have a lot of passion. Last thing, I'll see you guys next year."
Confronted with Djokovic's unequaled ability to race along the baseline and contort his body this way and that, sneakers squeaking loudly as he changed directions or scraping like sandpaper as he slid to reach unreachable shots, Federer found himself trying to put the ball into the tiniest of spaces. And it didn't work. He wound up with 54 unforced errors, 17 more than Djokovic.
Another key statistic: Djokovic saved 19 of the 23 break points he faced and won six of Federer's service games.
The momentum, and match, shifted dramatically late in the third set, when Federer held two break points to go up 5-3 and get a chance to serve for a 2-1 lead in sets.
But on the first, Federer dumped a forehand into the net. And on the second, Djokovic ended a 15-stroke exchange by punishing Federer's weak backhand with a big cross-court forehand winner. After holding there, Djokovic grabbed the key break for a 5-4 lead when Federer shanked a forehand, then missed a backhand wide.
Djokovic then served out that set, saving two break points along the way, and moving out front for good on yet another backhand error from Federer.
Hingis adds to major titles: Martina Hingis earned her 11th Grand Slam women's doubles title and second doubles title at the U.S. Open when she and Sania Mirza beat Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Hingis won the mixed doubles title with Leander Paes. Hingis, 34, has won five major doubles titles this year, which ups her total of Grand Slam titles to 20 across all disciplines: five in singles, 11 in women's doubles and four in mixed doubles.