Djokovic captures U.S. Open title for 14th major championship

Virginia Santiago
September 14, 2018

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during his U.S. men's singles finals against Juan Martin del Potro.

Djokovic and Del Potro walked on Arthur Ashe Stadium court with the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center still buzzing over the controversial women's final on Saturday, won by Japan's Naomi Osaka after Serena Williams incurred three code violations.

Osaka's winning the championship also must have given impetus to other Japanese tennis players, including Kei Nishikori, who finished second in the 2014 U.S. Open.

Del Potro was back in a grand slam final for the first time since defeating Federer to win at Flushing Meadows nine years ago. He is now just three Slams behind Rafael Nadal and six back from the record 20 held by Roger Federer.

But del Potro can take heart in appearing in a first major final since 2009, when he upset Federer in five sets.

The end was near and when Djokovic put away a smash on a first match point, he fell onto the court on his back.

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The 29-year old then missed a golden opportunity in game eight, failing to take one of three break chances during a 20-minute game that saw Djokovic jeered by spectators as he approached the umpire mid-game to complain about the balls, the packed crowd sensing he was just playing for time.

Never was that more apparent than the game that stood out on this evening, with Djokovic serving while down 4-3 in the second set.

All that frustration was washed away when he struck the overhead victor to clinch victory over Del Potro, Djokovic falling to his back, arms and legs spread savouring the moment.

It was plain sailing for the 31-year-old Serb who is chasing a 14th Slam title to take him level with Pete Sampras on the all-time list.

"Pete Sampras is one of the biggest legends ever to play the game", explained Djokovic.

Djokovic, who climbed Mont Sainte-Victoire in the south of France with wife Jelena, added: "I strongly recommend you to climb it".

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'I think that was one of the most important, so to say, moments and periods of my life, my tennis career, my development.

The 16-year age gap between Williams and Osaka was the second biggest in the Open Era for a women's final, next only to Monica Seles (17) vs. Martina Navratilova (34) at the 1991 U.S. Open.

AS with any final weekend of a grand slam there was plenty of cash being dished out at the US Open the past couple of days.

"I was very disappointed with my performance that day".

The crux of the match came midway through the second set.

If there were still any question marks after he won Wimbledon this summer about whether this was Djokovic back to his best, they are surely gone now. But I was playing at the limit all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn't make them because Novak was there every time. He recouped the service break in the fifth game, but after holding serve, Djokovic went onto win the final three games of the over three-hour encounter.

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The 29-year-old admitted to nearly quitting tennis in 2015, when he underwent the last of his four wrist surgeries.

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