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13 September 2018, 05:16 | Charlene Valdez
No doubts anymore Novak Djokovic has returned to tennis elite
The 31-year-old defeated Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 in the US Open final to claim a third success at Flushing Meadows and make it back-to-back slam titles. Djokovic comes to net early in the point and looks to put away a volley, but Djokovic catches it and shoots it back for a forehand cross-court victor, staking him another break point! Caroline Garcia jumped two spots to No. 4. Djokovic is tied for third with Pete Sampras for the most career Grand Slam singles titles, behind Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (16).
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. The U.S. Open championship took his resurgence a step further.
"I feel like I'm on a whole new level".
Top-seeded Nadal had been favored to win this tournament from the start.
One of those was Australia's John Millman, who caused a major shock by defeating Federer in the fourth round.
This time Djokovic is No.3 behind Nadal and Federer, but the stunning three-year first will have tennis fans asking if it really is 2018. When they shout "Ole, ole, ole, ole", that's what I hear.
The Serbian had to endure a dramatic 20-minute service game in which his opponent had three more break points but could not take them. He finished with a flourish, taking the last three games.
"The players have played a key role in driving that growth", ATP spokesman Simon Higson said.
"When the roof is closed, trust me, it's very loud".
Things looked ominous for Del Potro as Djokovic seized control early on, moving magnificently and constructing a number of superb points with precision striking.
Eventually, the Serb held. Now Del Potro rips a backhand victor down the line that paints the deuce line and he's got another break point. He had all but deflated. A series of missed forehands by del Potro in the tiebreaker put Djokovic back on course.
On court, the match was defined by its many long rallies and impossibly powerful groundstrokes. It was a comeback for a guy who had four wrist operations in the interim.
'I think we have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other. His eyes were still red when he spoke to reporters later.
"What I said on the stage, you can lose or win a trophy, but the love from the crowd, it could be even bigger than the tournament", del Potro said.
Admitting it would have been hard to believe back in February that he would go on to collect such prestigious titles this year, he also felt the barren spell had actually helped get him back on track. "It will be in the heart for the rest of my life".
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