Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Novak’s the top man after peak practice

From 1,042 to US Open final del Potro relishes return to Grand Slam title match From 1,042 to US Open final del Potro relishes return to Grand Slam title match
Sergio Cook | 14 September, 2018, 17:23

US Open champion Novak Djokovic and runner-up Juan Martin del Potro have both declared they feel for Serena Williams following the scandal surrounding the US Open women's singles final.

The Serbian outlasted the Argentine 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in three hours and 15 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY. He showed off all of his court-covering, foe-frustrating, defense-to-offense skills down the stretch on the way to his third U.S. Open title, claiming the last 16 sets he played.

Djokovic's strength lay in his returns.

But seemingly temporarily distracted by del Potro's supporters getting louder, not to mention the world No. 3's better play, he was broken back for 3-3.

Osaka, whose next scheduled tournament is the Toray Pan Pacific Open later this month in Tokyo, said she was still too exhausted to celebrate her U.S. Open win.

But against one of the best returners in the business, Del Potro needed to be far more assertive.

"I was so close to the desired level, and then I completely underplayed that match".

The WTA is calling for equal treatment of all tennis players and coaching to be allowed across the sport after critics inside and outside of tennis argued that she was not treated the same as some male players.

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.

Although he was riding high coming into the Open, Djokovic was among the many struggling with crushing heat and humidity in the first week.

In the tennis wilderness following an elbow injury and loss of motivation, Djokovic has now won two straight Grand Slams following his success at Wimbledon.

While Simona Halep of Romania retained her top spot on the list, Germany?s Angelique Kerber moved one spot up to acquire the third position. In fact, the 95-minute second set in the final was a microcosm of Djokovic's last two years.

The tournament, meanwhile, set a new attendance record of 828,798 fans through the gates at Flushing Meadows.

He sealed the win with a forehand volley before going to hug a visibly-dejected Del Potro at the net. Not against Djokovic, who always seemed to have all the answers - and who said he convinced himself that all of those "Oles" were actually people calling out his own nickname, "Nole".

A 20-minute service game for Djokovic followed.

Djokovic will now set his sights on conquering a different summit by reclaiming his place atop the world tennis rankings for the first time since October 2016.

Perhaps the biggest loser in it all was the eventual champion, Naomi Osaka, whose moment of glory was taken away in the aftermath of a tirade by Williams.

The tiebreaker was resolved thanks to more del Potro miscues on his forehand side, as he looked more and more worn out.

A focused Djokovic continued to apply pressure in the third set until Del Potro finally cracked on serve to fall behind 5-3, with the Serb closing out the match with a ferocious overhead victor. I think that was one of the most important, so to say, moments and periods of my life, my tennis career, my development.

The noise levels inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium was deafening as Djokovic and Del Potro got the crowd roaring with their display on-court.

All that frustration was washed away when he struck the overhead victor to clinch victory over Del Potro, Djokovic falling to his back, arms and legs spread savouring the moment.

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