US Open 2018: Novak Djokovic wraps up third US Open title

14 September, 2018, 19:07 | Author: Marlene Myers
  • Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina reacts during his men's singles semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on Day Twelve of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

The Serbian overcame Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets at Flushing Meadows for his 14th career major to draw level with his icon, American legend Pete Sampras.

Only great rivals Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (17) have won more.

Asked if he had a greater appreciation for winning slams after a hectic few years, Djokovic said on ESPN: "I do".

After missing the second half of the 2017 season because of an elbow problem, Djokovic played the Australian Open before having surgery on the joint only for the disappointing results to continue until his quarter-final exit at Roland Garros.

Del Potro insisted he is happy to be playing in the era of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. Del Potro broke down in uncontrollable tears on his chair.

The victory will also see Djokovic rise to No.3 in the world behind Nadal and Federer - the rankings again reflecting the "Big Three" status they have shared for so long.

Djokovic said: "I felt like I was so close to the desired level, and then I just completely underplayed that match".

"Of course he can. But Novak has everything to make records in this sport". "I'm feeling good. My wrist is responding good, because I've been playing a lot of matches in these two weeks", Del Potro said.

"I know people always like to compare any top player's game or performance with some previous season where he was dominating and they've done that with me".

"I've been - during all my career - learning with Novak, Roger, Rafa, seeing them winning these events very often. You deserve to win".

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Djokovic's most hard opponent this tournament has been the heat and humidity, so Sunday's cool and wet conditions, resulting in the roof being shut on Arthur Ashe Stadium, were perfectly to his liking.

"Now we can expect him to really challenge to be No. 1 by end of the year", said Djokovic's coach, Marian Vajda.

For Djokovic, it was an illustration of him growing into the championships as he took his run of consecutive sets won to 14, stretching back to the second round against Tennys Sandgren.

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.

And then came Sunday's pivotal game, a 20-minute, 22-point epic.

The second set was a physical one as the two players were on the court for 95 minutes.

Djokovic, who has returned to the calm, cool and collected version of himself that routinely won Grand Slam titles, served out the first set in the next game.

Del Potro had a 3-1 lead in the tiebreaker before Djokovic recovered to take it.

But a 14th Grand Slam trophy was in the offing, which if claimed would tie Djokovic in third place with Pete Sampras for most major trophies earned in the men's game.

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