'Novak Djokovic a magnificent idol and friend' - Juan Martin Del Potro
13 September, 2018, 05:13 | Author: Brenda Erickson
It came as Djokovic smashed a championship-winning forehand. Caroline Garcia jumped two spots to No. 4.
The win for Djokovic gave him 14 Grand Slams to move into a tie for third on the all-time list alongside Pete Sampras.
Top-seeded Nadal had been favored to win this tournament from the start.
Since his June trek with his wife up Montagne Sainte-Victoire, the mountain that famously also served as an inspiration for Paul Cézanne, the 31-year-old has added a pair of Grand Slam titles to his resume. Federer was knocked out in the fourth round.
Amid increasing noise between points and serves, which prompted frequent interventions from chair umpire Alison Hughes, the previously assured Djokovic - who missed the tournament a year ago due to an elbow injury - appeared agitated.
With Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer expected to clean up the slam titles, it is testament to Djokovic that he left NY with two - Wimbledon and the US Open - in his hands.
"I'm very sad for being a loser today but Novak deserved to take the trophy", said Del Potro, who wept into his hands before being comforted by Djokovic. "We just isolated ourselves and took things from a different perspective".
The eighth game was an epic, lasting over 20 minutes and featuring eight deuces before Djokovic withstood the pressure to hold. He dropped three consecutive games. Delpo then pushes a backhand wide for game point, but Djokovic mixes in his first double fault of the match for either player to deuce.
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"The last two months have been terrific". Eventually, he seized that game - and del Potro's best chance to make a match of it. He had all but deflated.
"I was playing nearly at the limit, all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn't make it, " Del Potro said, "because Novak [was] there every time".
On court, the match was defined by its many long rallies and impossibly powerful groundstrokes.
In their first meeting in a Grand Slam final it was Del Potro, back at this stage for the first time since 2009, who won the coin toss and elected to receive under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof with heavy rain falling in NY. It was a comeback for a guy who had four wrist operations in the interim.
With the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof closed as heavy rain swept NY, conditions were slow and sluggish. The runner-up, Serena Williams, is back in the top 20 at No. 16, after being No. 26 before the U.S. Open - and outside the top 400 as recently as May, following the former No. 1's time away because she had a baby.
Juan Martín del Potro brought his own cheering section to the US Open, but in truth, the "gentle giant" from Argentina has the backing of the entire tennis world. His eyes were still red when he spoke to reporters later.
"I was hoping he's going to be here tonight but I want to say 'Pete, I love you, you're my idol, '" said the Serb.
Admitting it would have been hard to believe back in February that he would go on to collect such prestigious titles this year, he also felt the barren spell had actually helped get him back on track. "It will be in the heart for the rest of the life".
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