The US Open final suddenly appeared to be slipping away from Novak Djokovic. He dropped three consecutive games. He was angered by a crowd roaring for his popular opponent, Juan Martin del Potro. He was, in short, out of sorts.
And then came Sunday's pivotal game, a 20-minute, 22-point epic. Three times, del Potro was a point from breaking and earning the right to serve to make it a set apiece. Three times, Djokovic steeled himself. Eventually, he seized that game — and del Potro's best chance to make a match of it.
A year after missing the US Open because of an injured right elbow that would require surgery, Djokovic showed that he is unquestionably back at his best and back at the top of tennis. His returns and defence-to-offence skills as impeccable as ever, Djokovic collected his 14th Grand Slam title and second in a row by getting through every crucial moment for a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over 2009 champion del Potro at Flushing Meadows.
This was Djokovic's third championship in New York, along with those in 2011 and 2015. Add in the trophies he has earned at six Australian Opens, one French Open and four Wimbledons, most recently in July, and the 31-year-old Serb pulled even with Pete Sampras for the third-most majors among men, trailing only Roger Federer's 20 and Rafael Nadal's 17.
Here is how Twitter reacted to Djokovic winning his third US Open title and 14th Grand Slam championship.
— Western & Southern Open (@CincyTennis) September 10, 2018
Also inspiring - @delpotrojuan, after everything you’ve been through, I know I’m not alone when I say I’m happy to see you back on this stage.
— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) September 10, 2018
The incredible graciousness, positivity, and true humility expressed by both players is what we need here in America right now. #USOpen2018
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) September 10, 2018
Djokovic entered Rome 6-6 in 2018 and in danger to leave the top 30.
ATP Rank: 3
ATP Race: 2 pic.twitter.com/DVq7COEHlr
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 10, 2018
#Djokovic once again making the case that he is the GOAT. Certainly has the well-rounded career accomplishments and at his best the most difficult player to defeat. No weaknesses, but more important so mentally tough. More majors to come. Count on it. — Jeremy Eckstein (@JeremyEckstein1) September 9, 2018
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal between them now have won 51 of the last 62 Grand Slams.
Years in which all four Slams have been won by the Magnificent Trio:
This incredible Golden Age of tennis is thus extended another year.
— Ric Finlay (@RicFinlay) September 9, 2018
All time prize money (dollars) 1. Djokovic, 119,1M 2. Federer, 117,5M 3. Nadal, 102,3M Djokovic back on top on this department. — José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 10, 2018
"Hey, this is pretty cool, winning two major titles. What are we going to do to top THAT in 2018?"
-- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
"Excuse me. I will top that by coming back from injury and uncertainty to win the most majors this season." -- Novak Djokovic
— Matt Zemek (@mzemek) September 9, 2018
With inputs from AP
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Updated Date: Sep 10, 2018 07:39:43 IST