“I can’t believe that I will have the chance to play another Grand Slam final here, which is my favourite tournament”, del Potro said after reaching the final when defending champion Rafael Nadal quit their semi-final when trailing by two sets because of a knee injury. Later, after winning a point, Djokovic put that finger to his ear, as if to say, “Who are you cheering for now?!”
Playing on the same court where Sampras claimed the last of his 14 slams, Djokovic has endured more disappointment than joy in Arthur Ashe Stadium, losing five finals.
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.
Breaking del Potro’s fearsome serve four times, Djokovic won thanks to his always strong return game and an unexpectedly aggressive game at the net.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his victory over Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during their 2018 US Open men’s singles final match on September 9, 2018 in NY.
The 2018 US Open will be remembered as one of the most dramatic Grand Slam tournaments in history.
“But I have my personal opinion that maybe the chair umpire should not have pushed Serena to the limit, especially in a Grand Slam final”.
Injury troubles and personal problems contributed to Djokovic going more than two years without a slam following his 2016 French Open triumph, but he looked back to his brilliant best at Wimbledon in July and again proved the class of the field at Flushing Meadows as he secured a second successive major.
“Now we can expect him to really challenge to be No. 1 by end of the year”, said Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda.
This was the make-or-break moment, the exact same juncture when del Potro had roared to life to beat Roger Federer in the US Open final nine years ago.
Del Potro could take consolation, though, from the huge support he received.
Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, remains with that lone major title.
“He knows that he’s one of my friends on tour and he knows he’s one player I want to watch win on tour”. I feel like these guys, rivalries with these guys, matches with Federer and Nadal, have made me the player I am, have shaped me into the player I am today.
Naomi Osaka vaulted 12 spots to a career-high No. 7 in the WTA rankings following her first career Grand Slam title.
Djokovic joins his idol Pete Sampras on 14 titles and is now closing the gap on his great rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
A focused Djokovic continued to apply pressure in the third set until Del Potro finally cracked on serve to fall behind 5-3, with the Serb closing out the match with a ferocious overhead victor. “I’m sad because I lose but I’m happy for Novak”.
Ever since being stretched to four sets in his second round against Tennys Sandgren, Djokovic did not drop a set, demolishing the likes of Federer-slayer John Millman, Kei Nishikori and del Potro en route to the top step of the podium.