US Open: Djokovic beat del Potro to win third title

Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina reacts during his men's singles semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on Day Twelve of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

Juan Martin del Potro has endured a horrible run of enjuries Credit Getty Images

Novak Djokovic clinched his third US Open title on Sunday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 triumph over Juan Martin del Potro, taking him level with Pete Sampras's mark of 14 Grand Slams.

Djokovic is bidding for his third U.S. Open title, his second straight Grand Slam title this season and a 14th overall to tie Pete Sampras for third all-time.

Earlier this year, he went past Federer in the Indian Wells Masters final. I had to kind of disconnect.

"We sat down and we just looked at the world from that perspective". He inspired me to start playing tennis. It was all positives.

"I believe he'll be here again with the champion's trophy".

"I guess we'll be hiking some more very soon!"

An emotional Del Potro shed tears in his chair at the end of the contest, but the 29-year-old can be hugely proud of his efforts after a thrilling run in the Big Apple. 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".

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"He was my childhood idol".

At times it resembled a football match rather than a tennis match. I grew up playing and thinking that one day I'll be able to do what he does.

Novak Djokovic kept getting the ball back, so del Potro would take a bigger whack, trying to find some spot in the corner of the court that would be uncovered.

The Serb walloped a forehand volley to safety on his first match point, dropping to the floor and spreading out on his back with his arms and legs outstretched in celebration.

His 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 defeat to the Serbian was not the fairytale outcome he had imagined. He came close in the grueling 95-minute second set, holding a 3-1 lead in the tiebreak before Djokovic rallied.

He picked up the pace with straight-sets victories over France's Richard Gasquet, Portugal's Joao Sousa, Millman and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori to arrive at a title tilt with good friend Del Potro.

"She seems nearly destined to succeed Williams as the world's highest-paid female athlete", Forbes said, estimating her off-court earnings may increase tenfold over the next couple of years, from $1.5 million to more than $15 million a year.

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Federer and Nadal have made me the player I am today. "But Novak deserved to have the trophy". Little did anybody expect that in the next 16 years, across 64 Majors, not one or two but three players would stand shoulder to shoulder with the American great. I think we have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other. I don't see it's necessary really to debate that.

Osaka's winning the championship should be a great encouragement for people in Hokkaido, hit by a recent quake.

"I wish him all the best".

The much-loved Argentinian could take consolation, though, from the enormous support he received.

"When you have chances against the top guys and can't make it, they take advantage", said del Potro, who hit 47 unforced errors and 31 winners.

Del Potro cracked first when serving in the eighth game of the first set.

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