By Jonathan Jurejko
BBC Sport at Flushing Meadows
|2018 US Open|
|Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 27 August-9 September Coverage: Live radio coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website|
Novak Djokovic produced an impeccable performance to beat Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open final and win his 14th Grand Slam title.
The 31-year-old Serb won 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to earn his third triumph in New York and equal American great Pete Sampras’ haul of major trophies.
Djokovic, who won Wimbledon in July, will climb to fourth in the world after back-to-back Grand Slam victories.
Only great rivals Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (17) have won more.
Argentine third seed Del Potro, 29, was playing his first Grand Slam final since winning the 2009 US Open, having almost quit the game in 2015 because of multiple wrist injures.
A fairytale finish at Flushing Meadows was not to be, however, as former world number one Djokovic’s quality shone through.
Djokovic is one of only eight men to win the Wimbledon-US Open double and has now accomplished that feat for a second time.
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The Serb walloped a forehand volley to safety on his first match point, dropping to the floor and spreading out on his back with his arms and legs outstretched in celebration.
After hugging his great friend at the net, Djokovic jumped into his box to celebrate with his wife Jelena and team. Del Potro broke down in uncontrollable tears on his chair.
“It is not easy to speak right now,” Del Potro said on court.
“I’m sad because I lose but I’m happy for Novak.”
After the controversy surrounding Serena Williams’ defeat by Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s women’s final, a high quality match between two of the top male players ensured tennis was once again the talking point.
Djokovic continues renaissance to blunt Del Potro
Djokovic had a barren spell between winning the 2016 French Open, where he completed the career Grand Slam, and his fourth triumph at Wimbledon in the summer.
Struggling physically with an elbow injury and seemingly suffering mentally after what he described as “personal problems”, he went eight Slams without reaching the semi-finals until Wimbledon.
His performances at the All England Club indicated he was back close to his best and he has shown the same shot-making, stamina and steeliness at Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic had not faced a big server like Del Potro in his run to the final and showed all of his remarkable retrieving skills to frustrate his opponent.
Before the final, Del Potro had seen 41% of his serves unreturned in the tournament.
That figure dropped to 17% in the first set as Djokovic wore him down in some long rallies.
Djokovic had not threatened Del Potro’s serve until the eighth game of the match, clinically taking his only break point as the Argentine buckled first.
|Novak Djokovic’s 14 Grand Slam titles|
|Australian Open||2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016|
|Wimbledon||2011, 2014, 2015, 2018|
|US Open||2011, 2015, 2018|
More to follow.