Djokovic equals 'idol' Sampras with 14th grand slam crown

Justin GreeneSep 14, 2018

Djokovic was better than del Potro on their many lengthy exchanges, using his trademark body-twisting, limb-splaying court coverage to get to almost every ball, sneakers squeaking around the blue court in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the roof was closed because of rain.

Wimbledon champion Djokovic, playing in his 11th US Open semi-final, claimed a 15th win in 17 clashes against Nishikori.

On the day of the final, Djokovic just showed why he was the holder of 13 Grand Slam titles.

Djokovic, playing in his eighth final in NY and already the champion in 2011 and 2015, is now just three Slams behind Rafael Nadal and six back from the record 20 held by Roger Federer.

Del Potro, the 29-year-old Argentinian who won the 2009 Open, is back at his best after a series of wrist surgeries, ranked a career high No. 3.

However, Djokovic eventually broke for a 3-2 lead in the second and there was an inevitability to proceedings thereafter.

He needed his right knee strapped after the seventh game before gallantly fighting off two set points in the 10th game, breaking Del Potro who was serving for the set.

Leading 4-3, Djokovic caught Del Potro off guard with his exceptional patience and strong strokes to break Del Potro's serve.

The Serb won his third US Open title, his second straight Grand Slam title this season, and 14th overall to tie Pete Sampras for third all-time.

Coming after his triumphant return at Wimbledon in July, the latest success is evidence enough that technically, tactically and physically Djokovic is back to his best. He played a great match, a very smart game.

Juan Martin del Potro stood with his hands on his knees, exhausted from taking the mightiest swings he could with his ferocious forehand.

He came crashing into this year's tournament, winning his first 12 sets in a row and toppling his first two opponents in under two hours each.

He put out his best tennis for the Arthur Ashe Stadium, countered some of Del Potro's best play and shone at Flushing Meadows for the third time in his career.

"If you told me in February this year when I got the surgery that I'll win Wimbledon, US Open, and Cincinnati, it would be hard to believe", said Djokovic, referring to August's Cincinnati Masters that completed his Masters collection.

Federer and Nadal have made me the player I am today.

"For me.I think it's still a win, so I'm just going to count it as that". I had my opportunities during the second and third set but I was playing nearly at the limit all the time ... and I couldn't make it because Novak was there every time. Too [far] ahead of him with the Grand Slams.

Novak Djokovic was pure class after defeating Juan Martin del Potro.

The tennis world is split over whether the 47-year-old should have used greater discretion before penalising Williams because of the actions of her coach - or given her another warning before docking her a game for verbal abuse. Barty and Vandeweghe won the second set tiebreaker 7-2 and won the third 8-6 to win for the second time in four meetings this season against Babos and Mladenovic.

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