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Juan Martin Del Potro looks to the heavens after his gruelling quarterfinal win over John Isner at the US Open
12 September, 2018, 14:42
"That's really hard and his ability to dictate not the pace of play, not hitting someone off the court, but dictating the patterns and getting it consistently the way he wants it, I think is a very undersold part of him and his legacy".
To reach Sunday's final Djokovic brought the heat to Kei Nishikori in Friday night's semifinal, wearing down the 2014 Open runner-up with his stellar defense in a dominating performance.
Later, after winning a point, Djokovic put that finger to his ear, as if to say, "Who are you cheering for now?!" "That inspired me to start playing tennis", Djokovic said on Sunday.
Juan Martín del Potro brought his own cheering section to the US Open, but in truth, the "gentle giant" from Argentina has the backing of the entire tennis world.
"I won my only Grand Slam here", del Potro said.
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. Add the trophies he has earned at six Australian Opens, one French Open and four Wimbledons, most recently in July, and the 31-year-old Serb pulled even with Pete Sampras for the third-most majors among men, trailing only Roger Federer's 20 and Rafael Nadal's 17.
Djokovic outlasted del Potro to win 6-3, 7-6, 6-3, and although a straight sets win might seem uncomplicated, del Potro had a number of chances, especially in the second set when he had three break points while leading 4-3, in a game that lasted more than 20 minutes.
"That's kind of my approach and my thinking", said Djokovic, who missed last year's U.S Open because of his elbow.
The Serbian sixth seed is making his eighth US Open final appearance, tying a professional era record, while Del Potro, seeded third, is playing in a grand slam final for just the second time.
Djokovic would have relished taking on either - or both, although he admits that early in his career that wasn't always the case. "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 center yourself, balance yourself and thrive".
But everything - his health, his backhand and his confidence - has come together this season for the Argentine to have his best year since 2009, when he won the US Open and snapped Roger Federer's 40-match NY win streak in the final.
"When the roof is closed, trust me, it's very loud".
1 retired due to a knee injury, and eventually lost to Novak Djokovic in the championship clash. It takes a lot of effort to actually stay poised in this moment.
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