TENNIS NEWS • DJOKOVIC TAKES DOWN DEL POTRO IN U.S. OPEN FINAL TO COMPLETE RESURGENT SUMMER

Written by: on 9th September 2018
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USA TENNIS US OPEN 2018
TENNIS NEWS • DJOKOVIC TAKES DOWN DEL POTRO IN U.S. OPEN FINAL TO COMPLETE RESURGENT SUMMER

epa07009416 Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the men's final on the fourteenth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 09 September 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE  |
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the men’s final on the fourteenth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 09 September 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September.  EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

In a major final that was a tale of two comebacks, Novak Djokovic defeated Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3 on Sunday at the U.S. Open. Djokovic lifted the trophy in New York City for a third time and secured his 14th career Grand Slam title after three hours and 16 minutes.

 

The 31-year-old took control with a service break from out of nowhere (40-0 down to be exact) at 4-3 in the opening set. That allowed him to serve things out in the ninth game, which he did in mostly routine fashion.

 

This title tilt packed most of its drama into an amazing second set, in which Del Potro bounced back from a 3-1 hole to lead 4-3 before coming tantalizingly close to taking a 5-3 lead. Djokovic, however, survived a wild service game that lasted more than 20 minutes to hold for 4-4. The world No. 6 (No. 3 on Monday) eventually forced a tiebreaker and from a quick mini-break deficit to take it 7-4.

 

Del Potro–as usual–did not go down without a fight, as he broke back for 2-3 in the third set. But Djokovic still had all of the momentum and a gas tank closer to full than that of his opponent, so he was quick to regain the upper hand. It was all but over for the Argentine when he dropped serve one more time at 3-4, and Djokovic’s hold one game later propelled him past the finish line.

 

Making a comeback from various physical problems, Djokovic has raised game to unreal heights after missing the second half of 2017 and struggling through the first four months of 2018. He has now captured back-to-back major titles (also at Wimbledon) to go along with his first-ever Cincinnati Masters shield.

 

“If you told me in February this year when I got the surgery that I’ll win Wimbledon, U.S. Open, and Cincinnati, (it) would be hard to believe,” the Serb said. “But at the same time there was always part of me that imagined and believed and hoped that I can get back on the desired level of tennis very soon. I expected, to be honest, after surgery that I’ll be back on a high level quite fast. But it took me actually four months. In that process, I learned a lot about myself, learned to be patient–which was never really a stronger side of me.

 

“But at the same time, life showed me that it takes time for good things; it takes time to really build them, for things to fall into place, so you can center yourself, balance yourself, and thrive. The last two months have been terrific.”

 

Del Potro, meanwhile, found himself back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning the 2009 U.S. Open–a triumph that preceded serious wrist issues.

 

“I’m very sad for being a loser today,” the 31-year-old admitted. “But Novak deserved to take the trophy. He played a great match; very smart game. I had my opportunities during (the) second and third set.

 

“But I was playing almost at the limit all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn’t make it because Novak [was] there every time. He’s a great champion, so I’m glad for him.”

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

 

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