Saturday, 22 September, 2018

France hike gave Djokovic new motivation to reach tennis summit

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 Juan Martin del Potro has endured a horrible run of enjuries Credit Getty Images
Tamara Craig | 14 September, 2018, 17:24

Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the championship trophy after winning his men's Singles finals match as Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina looks on on Day Fourteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sun., Sept. 9, 2018, in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Djokovic, who struggled with the NY humidity in the first two rounds, did not drop a set from the third round onwards.

Novak Djokovic believes Juan Martin del Potro will be back on the big stage and winning grand slams after falling short in the final of the US Open on Sunday.

Djokovic had lost five previous finals at Flushing Meadows, but he was determined to make amends for his lack of trophies in NY as his defensive ability combined with his ruthless prowess saw him break in the fourth game, although Del Potro was not in the mood to give up so easily as he hit straight back.

Del Potro was unable to stop the rejuvenated Djokovic, but there was plenty of love in the air afterwards at Flushing Meadows - where both players praised each other. He was drained from 3 hours, 16 minutes trying to find weaknesses in perhaps the best defender in tennis, especially after losing the 22-point, 20-plus minute game in the second set that was the match's pivotal moment.

Osaka, the 20-year-old, who leaped ahead following her victory over 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the finals of the US Open, has become the youngest player to make her place in the list of top 20 players, WTA official website reported. He finished with a flourish, taking the last three games.

Federer's haul of 20 Grand Slams seems to be in the distance, yet Djokovic is now within range of Nadal's 17.

It was also the third time the 31-year-old Serb - who missed last year's tournament with an elbow injury which sent his career into a mini-crisis - completed the Wimbledon-US Open double.

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Naomi Osaka won the women's singles title at the U.S. Open.

"I expected, to be quite frank, after surgery that I'll be back on a high level quite fast".

"I was hoping he was going to be here, but he's not", Djokovic said about Sampras. "When they shout "Ole, ole, ole, ole", that's what I hear", he said of the raucous chants for Del Potro. "I'm very sad for being a loser today".

There is just no stopping Djokovic right now.

But seemingly temporarily distracted by del Potro's supporters getting louder, not to mention the world No. 3's better play, he was broken back for 3-3.

The match was played with the roof closed at Arthur Ashe Stadium because of rain. Del Potro would not rue how many of those could have been his had he been injury-free all those years.

In the tiebreak, Del Potro looked susceptible to forehand errors and Djokovic showed enormous courage and quality to take it away from Del Potro, going up 2-0 in the final. But then he was broken in his next game. Angelique Kerber went from No. 4 to No. 3.

"Difficult times but you learn from adversity".

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