Novak Djokovic Ties Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slams
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The big three for more than the past decade are well on their way to ensuring they finish as the three greatest players of all time, now that Novak Djokovic has tied Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slams. Djokovic claimed his second Grand Slam of 2018 with a 6-3 7-6 6-3 victory in the US Open final over Juan Martin Del Potro. It’s also the third US Open for Djokovic and his first since 2015.
Djokovic had to battle for the final despite the routine scoreline, Del Potro’s forehand was troublesome and a highly partisan crowd tried to carry him to a win. Del Potro came up just short in the second set tiebreak and in the third set he was simply exhausted, a fitter Djokovic covering the court with ease and winning all the clutch points.
Djokovic will now be racing to reclaim the world #1 ranking after a confident week in New York that started slow, but finished with glory. The 31 year old Djokovic dropped sets against Marton Fucsovics and Tennys Sandgren, but then rolled through Richard Gasquet, Joao Sousa, John Millman, and Kei Nishikori. They all battled, but Djokovic had an answer for everything they threw at him. Millman reaching the quarterfinals after stunning a horribly out of form Roger Federer in the 4th round, Federer wilting in the humidity as Millman claimed the win of his life.
Del Potro, back in a slam final for the first time in nearly a decade, deserved all the praise he got. The Argentine dropped just one set prior to the final as Donald Young, Denis Kudla, Fernando Verdasco, Borna Coric, John Isner, and an injured Rafael Nadal all fell before him. Nadal’s knees gave way in their semifinal and he was forced to retire after two sets, in a match he was surely going to lose retirement or not. A second Grand Slam still escapes Del Potro.
In the doubles final Jack Sock and Mike Bryan won their second straight slam, defeating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. Bryan hasn’t missed a step since brother Bob suffered a hip injury.Embed from Getty Images