Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Djokovic tops del Potro to win U.S. Open, 14th Slam title

Djokovic tops del Potro to win U.S. Open, 14th Slam title

Novak Djokovic poses with Juan Martin del Potro after winning his men's Singles finals match.

A season that started gloomily with elbow surgery after the Australian Open is turning into a brilliant finish for the 31-year-old Serb who has now won three of his last four events including back-to-back majors at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.

Novak Djokovic felt like it was a football match as Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro and he locked heads in the men's singles final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY on Sunday.

Djokovic had lost five previous finals at Flushing Meadows, but he was determined to make amends for his lack of trophies in NY as his defensive ability combined with his ruthless prowess saw him break in the fourth game, although Del Potro was not in the mood to give up so easily as he hit straight back.

Del Potro was looking at having to become the first man since Pancho Gonzales in 1949 to win the USA title from two sets down. Serbian sixth seed is making his eighth US Open final appearance, tying an professional era record, while Del Potro, seeded third, is playing in a Grand Slam final for just the second time.

With the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof closed as heavy rain swept NY, conditions were slow and sluggish.

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Playing on the same court where Pete Sampras claimed his 14th and final Grand Slam crown, Djokovic had endured more disappointment than joy on Arthur Ashe, mining just three titles from eight finals.

"I was hoping he's [Pete Sampras] going to be here tonight but I want to say 'Pete, I love you, you're my idol". That put the 29-year-old Argentine back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since his breakthrough nine years ago, a comeback for a guy who had four wrist operations in the interim. "Of course I'm sad because I lose but I'm happy for Novak, you deserved to win", del Potro said. Not against Djokovic, who always seemed to have all the answers.

Thankfully, Del Potro's injury woes look to be behind him.

When another forehand error cost Del Potro his serve early in the second, all the momentum was with Djokovic. That prompted to chair umpire Alison Hughes to chastise them.

Djokovic glared at the crowd and tossed his hands up in disbelief after losing one 16-shot rally, then he steadied himself and fended off three game points that would have given del Potro a two-game lead in the set. He made one last stand by breaking and holding for 3-all.

When it ended, thanks to a three-game closing run by Djokovic, he flung his racket away and landed on his back, arms and legs spread wide. "You deserve to win".

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