CLEAN S-WEEP Novak Djokovic wins US Open 2018 after straight sets victory over teary Juan Martin del Potro

Resurgent Serbian beat Argentine rival 6-3 7-6 6-3 at Flushing Meadows to claim second Grand Slam this year

10 September 2018 - 08:17

NOVAK DJOKOVIC is a relentless Grand Slam winning machine.

The brutally efficient Serbian fired himself past a totally floored and tearful Juan Martin del Potro here 6-3 7-6 6-3 in three hours and 16 minutes with yet another final performance of excellence under pressure.

First Wimbledon and now the US Open this summer.

What a return from injury for Djokovic.

He missed a large part of 2017 with an elbow problem (he was absent from Flushing Meadows 12 months ago) and went under the knife after the Australian Open at the start of this year.

Del Potro has also suffered so badly with injuries over the years yet boy oh boy, does Djokovic look fine now.

He struggled badly with the heat earlier in the tournament but as temperatures cooled, his performances heated up.

He said: “I want to thank my kids, my wife my small team of people.

"When I had surgery I could understand what Juan Martin went through. Difficult times but you learn from adversity. I tried to take the best out of those moments.

“It felt like a football match with all the Argentine and Serbian fans. The support was amazing.”

The big hitting Argy threw everything he could at the 31 year-old and , for the first two sets, certainly had his chances.

A marathon 20 minute game at 4-3 in a second set which lasted 95 minutes on the Djokovic serve was key.

 
 
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If Delpo could have broken then, we may have had a different game on our hands. Being unable to break through, however, deflated the 29 year-old.

Instead, Djokovic displayed the kind of teak tough mental fortitude which has now taken him level with Pete Sampras on 14 major titles.

He returns to No3 in the world and who would bet against him reaching or even eclipsing Rafa Nadal on 17 and Roger Federer on 20?

This was the Argentine’s first slam final since winning the title here in 2009.

His band of fans from his hometown of Tandil did all they could. They roared their man during the toughest of moments but it just wasn’t enough.

Djokovic, a man who loves to be loved, seemed upset with the raucous chants for Delpo early on. He looked angry. And an angry Djokovic is a very dangerous beast indeed.

At the end, the unforced error tally read 47 to Del Potro with the Serb racking up 38. The now three time US Open champion hit one more winner (32 to 31) yet was more decisive in the big moments.

When the final point was smashed home, Djoko fell to the floor in pure delight. It was his 23rd final - a remarkable record in its own right - and was one of his most complete displays.

Del Potro will come again, his wrist problems appear to be finally on the mend, and the tears which flowed down his face at the end spoke volumes.

The emotional 2009 US Open winner, who missed ten slams through injuries since that breakthrough triumph, said: ”It’s not easy to speak. I love my fans and am so happy to play the final against this magnificent idol.

“He is one of my friends and he knows I want him to win titles. He deserved to win.

“I never gave up during my problems, I wanted to be here at my favourite tournament and after nine years I made it.”

He will be back.

So too, however, will Djokovic. Again and again and again.

 

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