Vintage Djokovic seals third U.S. Open crown

Juan Martin del Potro

He is now set to rise to third in the ATP rankings behind Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the only two men to have claimed more slam titles, but can justifiably claim to be the best player in the world at present. They went back and forth, through eight deuces and all those break opportunities for del Potro, until he slapped one forehand into the net, and another sailed wide.

When another forehand error cost Del Potro his serve early in the second, all the momentum was with Djokovic.

Thankfully, Del Potro's injury woes look to be behind him.

Djokovic was better than del Potro on their many lengthy exchanges, using his trademark body-twisting, limb-splaying court coverage to get to almost every ball, sneakers squeaking around the blue court in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the roof was closed because of rain.

The sixth seed had suffered in the ferocious heat and humidity through the early days of the season's final Grand Slam but dropped only two sets for the tournament and none since the second round.

With the quality of tennis only on the rise, the noise level inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium was deafening.

A series of missed forehands by del Potro in the tiebreaker put Djokovic back on course.

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Eventually, the Serb held.

Yet the atmosphere was more positive on Sunday as spectators enjoyed an absorbing contest - again played under the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium due to rain - between two great friends. He had all but deflated.

On court, the match was defined by its many long rallies and impossibly powerful groundstrokes.

Del Potro, seeded third, was appearing in the second Grand Slam final of his career nine years after reaching his first. He depended on his hometown friends, a group of whom have been in NY throughout the fortnight to lead cheers in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and worked his way back to the final at his favorite ATP Tour event. During the time in-between, he had four wrist surgeries, including three on his left wrist, and contemplated quitting the sport altogether.

"When I was a kid, I mixed watching soccer and the U.S. Open, that's it", Del Potro said before the match. "But at the same time, life showed me that it takes time for good things, it takes time to really build them, for things to fall into place, so you can centre yourself, balance yourself and thrive".

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. "It will be in the heart for the rest of my life".

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