US Open 2018: 'Emphatic' Novak Djokovic makes winning Grand Slams look easy again with unrivalled fluidity and flexibility


If Wimbledon was the cake, the US Open is the icing in Novak Djokovic’s comeback occasion.

And his newest triumph celebrated all of the issues that make Djokovic such a spectacle. His focus was laser sharp, his defence unbreakable. From first shot to the final, his utter perception in his success by no means wavered. It is as if all of the doubts that had been swirling in his thoughts the previous two seasons had been buried on the well-known Wimbledon lawns. It was successful enterprise as traditional in New York.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory over Juan Martin del Potro. AP

Enjoying his second Grand Slam last in a row, Djokovic blocked out the distractions of enjoying pal and crowd favorite Juan Martin Del Potro to win 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-Three in three hours and 15 minutes. That took his main tally to 14, stage with Pete Sampras. He now stands third within the listing of most Grand Slam singles titles, with solely his high rivals Rafael Nadal (17) and Roger Federer forward of him.

“I anticipated him to return again, completely,” John McEnroe stated. “Did I count on it to be this emphatic? No I didn’t.”

The fluidity and suppleness in Djokovic’s motion that makes tennis look straightforward, makes successful Slams look straightforward. After dropping a set every within the first two rounds on the Open, he has taken cost of the court docket emphatically (to borrow from McEnroe’s phrase e book) and received 15 units in a row. That readability of thought and clear execution was as soon as once more obvious as he set about dismantling Del Potro within the last.

The Argentine, alternatively, was competing in a Grand Slam last after 9 years and was using the recognition wave in New York. His forehand has been awe-inspiring by means of the fortnight, and his backhand has held surprisingly effectively. However none of that might be sufficient in opposition to the persistent defence of Djokovic. No nook within the court docket was Djokovic-proof.

“Novak is simply too quick. His defence is nice,” Del Potro lamented after the match. “It’s actually tough to beat a participant like Novak. I used to be enjoying at my restrict nearly on a regular basis, searching for winners. However could not make them as a result of Novak was there nearly each time. I took the dangers with my forehand as a result of it was the one method to beat this sort of participant. My errors had been due to his stage.”

Djokovic saved the 6’6 Argentine on the run, pulling him from nook to nook, by no means actually letting him arrange and take a swipe at his large forehand. He negated Del Potro’s large serve with some extraordinary returns. Djokovic’s practiced talent in hitting offensive photographs from deep down within the court docket gave Del Potro completely no respiratory house. The Argentine was seen doubled over, palms on his knees by the top of the second set, when Djokovic weaved this sample of photographs to attract three forehand errors on the trot from the Argentine and win the tie-break 7-4.

Compelled to go for an excessive amount of, Del Potro ended the match with 47 unforced errors in opposition to his 31 winners.

Whereas Djokovic was in charge of the match all by means of, he misplaced his cool a few instances when the boisterous crowd, packed right into a roofed Arthur Ashe stadium, rooted arduous for the Argentine. After happening 3-1 within the second set, Del Potro had performed some impressed tennis to wrest again the break after which maintain at like to stage the set 4-4.

It might have turned the momentum within the Argentine’s favour. However Djokovic survived a 22-point, 20-minute sport, the place he confronted three break factors. His steely resolve had as soon as once more seen him by means of. Though Del Potro took the second set to a tie-break, and fought again from 3-1 down within the third set as effectively, he was left catching as much as Djokovic’s constant brilliance.

“This may sound humorous, however my nickname is Nole. Once they shout ‘Ole, ole, ole, ole,’ that is what I hear,” he stated at his post-match press convention. “I really make myself hear that, to be trustworthy, no phrase of a lie. I actually do… When the roof is closed, belief me, it’s extremely, very loud down there. It takes numerous effort to really keep poised within the second. I am glad I managed to try this.”

Until just a few months in the past, Djokovic, 31, appeared misplaced and unsure of his future. Harm worries and, he claimed, ‘private issues’ had seen him stoop to No 22 within the rankings.

After getting back from elbow rehab initially of the 12 months, Djokovic struggled to get going on the Australian Open and misplaced to younger gun Hyeon Chung. He opted for an elbow surgical procedure in February. On the French Open, his defeat to Italian journeyman Marco Cecchinato despatched alarm bells ringing. Djokovic was uncertain whether or not he would proceed with the season and play on grass; tennis was not on his thoughts.

However match by match, he turned it round in Wimbledon. The thrilling five-set win over Nadal within the semi-final was the ultimate piece within the puzzle. Djokovic has misplaced just one match since: a spherical of 16 defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas on the Canadian Masters. He received the Cincinnati Masters the subsequent week to grow to be the primary participant to win all of the ATP 1000 Masters titles.

And on the US Open, he performed with the identical fiery-eyed function that has first seen him rise to the highest of the rankings after which win 4 majors in a row in 2015-2016. He is undoubtedly again, and even perhaps higher.

“This implies the world to me,” Djokovic stated on Sunday. “And I do not see any limits. I do not see the top across the nook so I’ll carry on going.”

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