World no. 1 Novak Djokovic came to Tokyo as the strong favorite to win the gold medal and complete his incredible list of titles. The Serb played on a high level to sail into the semi-final, where he opened a 6-1, 3-2 advantage against Alexander Zverev.
Out of a sudden, Novak lost ground completely and dropped ten of the final 11 games to propel the German into the title clash and experience his third semi-final defeat at the Olympic Games. Novak also failed to reach the final in the mixed doubles event, and it was clear he would have problems against Pablo Carreno Busta in the singles bronze medal clash.
Like in London 2012, Djokovic left empty-handed and failed to claim the medal, as the Spaniard beat him 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in two hours and 47 minutes to secure the medal for his country. Pablo was Novak's rival at the last year's US Open when the Serb got defaulted, and he couldn't pass the younger opponent today at Tokyo, despite trying his best.
Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Novak Djokovic to win the first Olympic medal.
Pablo served at 70% and defended all six break chances to keep the pressure on the other side. Novak got broken only twice, and it was enough to keep him away from the medal, losing serve early in the decider and creating no chances in the remaining games.
Carreno Busta survived challenging opening service games and broke Djokovic at love at 2-2 to gain the advantage. Novak saved two set points on serve at 3-5 and created a couple of break chances in the next one, denied by the Spaniard, who closed the set on his third set point and gained a massive boost.
Both players served well in the second set, with no chances for the returners in 12 games. At 5-6, Novak saved a match point with a service winner and won the breaker 8-6 after an extended rally in the 14th point that sent them into a decider.
Pablo saved a break point at the beginning of the final set and forced Novak's error in the next one to grab a break that would prove to be crucial. The Spaniard produced three comfortable holds after that and served for the bronze medal at 5-3.
Djokovic saved four match points before Carreno Busta converted the fifth to celebrate one of his most notable victories and secure a medal for Spain.