Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Djokovic beats Del Potro to win US Open

Djokovic beats Del Potro to win US Open

Djokovic is now just three slams behind Rafael Nadal's record of 17 Grand Slams and six short of the all-time record of 20 held by Roger Federer.

After the controversy surrounding Serena Williams' defeat by Naomi Osaka in Saturday's women's final, a high-quality match between two of the top male players ensured tennis was once again the talking point.

When he swept to the 2009 title in NY, he was just 20 years old and expected to establish himself as a permanent rival to Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.

A year after missing the 2017 US Open because of an injured right elbow that would require surgery, Djokovic showed that he is unquestionably back at his best and back at the top of tennis.

This year, Del Potro has lurked as a major threat, beating Federer for the Indian Wells Masters title and making the semi-finals at Roland Garros and last-eight at Wimbledon.

'I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am today.

Three operations to his left wrist mean del Potro's once potent backhand has been downgraded to mostly a slice, although there were encouraging signs at the US Open.

His opponent? Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 Open champ, whose own comeback story is arguably even more compelling than Djokovic's. "I've spent all my career learning with Novak, Roger, Rafa, seeing them winning these events very often".

"I think most of all, the respect they had for other player, they never went over the line and that's something truly fantastic tonight", Djokovic said at the presentation ceremony.

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Del Potro had the majority of the crowd behind him Sunday, too, especially about a dozen of his friends who accompanied him from his hometown of Tandil during the tournament.

Del Potro will be playing in just his second final at the majors.

"We have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other". However, backed by his singing fans, Del Potro roared back in the set by breaking Djokovic to go back on serve.

"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".

Never was that more apparent than the game that stood out on this evening: with Djokovic serving while down 4-3 in the second set.

A focused Djokovic continued to apply pressure in the third set until Del Potro finally cracked on serve to fall behind 5-3, with the Serb closing out the match with a ferocious overhead victor. Later, after winning a point, Djokovic put that finger to his ear, as if to say, "Who are you cheering for now?!"

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

The effort took its toll on a suddenly weary-looking Del Potro as a 95-minute set was claimed by Djokovic in the tiebreak.

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