Novak Djokovic's quest for a record 21st major title to complete the calendar-year Grand Slam has collapsed at the final hurdle with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 loss to Russian Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.
Playing in his third Grand Slam final, Medvedev at last hoisted a trophy, avenging a straight-sets defeat by Djokovic at the Australian Open final earlier this year.
The Serb world No.1, who was trying to become the first man in more than 50 years to win all four majors - Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open - in the same year, found himself in an early hole, after dropping the first set for the fifth straight match.
But this time, there would be no way out, as the rampaging Russian Medvedev kept up the pressure with a barrage of aces, while allowing Djokovic a single break.
Such was Medvedev's domination that the only tiny bit of drama came late in the third set, when he was suddenly hit by a bout of nerves trying to close out the match.
Serving at 5-2, Medvedev double-faulted on matchpoint, allowing Djokovic to secure his one and only break.
After Djokovic held serve to trim the deficit to 5-4, Medvedev again had matchpoint and again double-faulted, but the 25-year-old did not squander a third chance, gathering himself to clinch the title on his third attempt.
Djokovic arrived on Arthur Ashe Stadium court with the weight of history on his shoulders.
An extraordinary women's final between teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez had softened the spotlight's glare, but there was no shirking from it, with tennis fans around the world tuned in to witness history.
The women's final was the first Grand Slam to feature two unseeded players, but the men's followed the form book to the letter, with No.1 Djokovic meeting No.2 Medvedev.
The New York crowd has never really embraced Djokovic the way it wraps its arms around Swiss Roger Federer and Spaniard Rafa Nadal, who have also won 20 Grand Slam titles. It had also shown no real love for Medvedev, who relished the role of US Open villain on his way to the 2019 final.
Perhaps sensing they were about to witness something special, the fans rallied behind Djokovic from the moment he stepped on court, showering him with cheers and chants of his nickname - "Nole, Nole, Nole" - but no amount of urging could lift Djokovic's game.
The Serb said he would treat the final as if it were the last match of his career, but never came close to his best.
Medvedev was also keenly aware there was a line in the history books for him as well, if he was the player to deny Djokovic the coveted calendar year Grand Slam.