US Open victor overtakes Swiss great

Florence Fletcher
September 14, 2018

"Of course he can", said Del Potro when asked if Djokovic can claim the record over Federer. There has been a first-time victor in four of the past six Grand Slam tournaments, and 20-year-old Naomi Osaka added to the eclectic mix by becoming the first Japanese to win a Major.

A five-day hike in the Alps transformed and inspired struggling Djoko for Flushing MeadowsWhen Novak Djokovic's year got off to a less-than-ideal start, the Serbian set off on a five-day hike in the French Alps that proved transformative.

It comes seven years after the New York Times revealed top chair umpires were skipping the US Open because of how poorly it paid officials. The 23-time Grand Slam victor continues to climb back following a 13-month maternity absence during which her WTA ranking plummeted to 491.

6-3 victory under the roof at Arthur Ashe stadium - it was raining in NY - pulled him level with Pete Sampras for third on the all-time men's list.

Djokovic, who has made seven previous finals in NY but won only two, will now face Del Potro in Sunday's final.

Djokovic broke del Potro early in the set to take a commanding position, but del Potro later broke him back and looked on the verge of taking full control of the match's momentum.

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He added: "I would like to congratulate Juan Martin". "I'm sad because I lose but I'm happy for Novak". But Novak deserved to take the trophy.

Djokovic has only ever lost one match from more than 200 when he has led by two sets - to Austria's Jurgen Melzer at the 2010 French Open - but there was no sign of that happening again.

That figure dropped to 17% in the first set as Djokovic wore him down in some long rallies. "But I was playing nearly at the limit all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn't make it because Novak was there every time".

Osaka's winning the championship should be a great encouragement for people in Hokkaido, hit by a recent natural disaster. I wish her all the best because she's so nice. The "what-ifs" will always swirl around talk of Del Potro's place in the sport. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic last occupied the top three spots in the rankings in April 2015. He was earmarked as the next big force, the man alongside Djokovic to rattle the two great champions he had just felled to break through. He has had four wrist operations since then. Eventually, he seized that game - and del Potro's best chance to make a match of it. And able to build momentum once more, the results have showed in 2018. "He's a Grand Slam victor", Djokovic said. He just has to capture the Wimbledon trophy before arriving in NY.

"I hate to retire", said Nadal, a player plagued by a series of knee injuries throughout his career. For Djokovic, it was an illustration of him growing into the championships as he took his run of consecutive sets won to 14, stretching back to the second round against Tennys Sandgren. "I'm very motivated to keep trying to win these titles".

Del Potro might have beaten other players Sunday, same as some of the losses to Federer and Nadal through the years may have been victories against lesser foes.

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