Del Potro and Djokovic play out tough US Open final | News | DW | 10.09.2018
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Del Potro and Djokovic play out tough US Open final

After a women's final distracted by the role of the umpire, the men's final was all about tennis. Juan Martin del Potro had his chances but Novak Djokovic was putting pressure on him from the start of the match.

The match ended with a score of 6-3, 7-6 (4) 6-3 as the Serbian Novak Djokovic fell to the court to celebrate his third US Open title after a match lasting three hours and 15 minutes.

With the win, Djokovic matched Pete Sampras' record of a 14th Grand Slam title to go joint-third with the American on the all-time winners list. Roger Federer has 20 titles and Rafael Nadal 17. "I want to say Pete, I love you, you're my idol," said Djokovic of Sampras after winning the match.

The world-ranked number 6 took the first set 6-3 and a had 3-1 lead in the second before del Potro broke back and took the set to a tie-break. Then the Argentine went up 3-1 before Djokovic recovered to take it, 7-4.

The third set looked as though del Potro would continue his fight, but Djokovic gained a break point from a 22-shot rally and took a 3-1 lead when del Potro fired a backhand long on the next point. Although the 29-year-old del Potro broke back, a 24-shot rally was key as Djokovic took a 5-3 lead to then serve for the match. He won with an overhead shot.

Djokovic hit 32 winning shots and made 38 unforced errors, del Potro hit 31 winners and 47 errors.

Juan Martin del Potro

Juan Martin del Potro

Read more: Naomi Osaka defeats Serena Williams in controversial US Open final

A good year

Coming off a win on the grass courts at Wimbledon in July, the 31-year-old Djokovic had looked strong all through the two weeks of the US Open. He only lost one set in the whole tournament, and that in the first round. 

Del Potro last won the US Open, his first major, in 2009. But after four operations for wrist injuries, the 29-year-old Argentine had become known for the problems keeping him off the court, rather than for wins on it.

He told the crowd it was his favorite tournament and paid tribute to other leading players including Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: "Hopefully he, Rafa, Roger will still fight for Grand Slams, because it is so nice to watch them fighting for the history," del Potro said. "We just do what we can against them. But Novak has everything to make records in this sport."

After nine years on his way to a second final, del Potro did not drop a set until his quarter final against John Isner, and only played two sets against Rafael Nadal in the semifinal before the Spaniard had to retire with a knee injury.

jm/kl (Reuters, AP)

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