Its U.S. Open law according to Djokovic

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Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after his win against Japan’s Kei Nishikori during the Men’s Singles Semi-Finals match at the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

Some people are known for the big occasion. Even when their stars seem to be shining down, they always find a way to make the grand entry. Such is the way of the great; such is Novak Djokovic’s way.He has not been so fantastic since he won the French Open in 2016, although he took his fourth triumph at Wimbledon in the summer. But Djokovic, who is the fourth most decorated player in the open era, knows when to reach for the skies. That he did against Juan Martin Del Potro at this year’s U.S Open final.

Djokovic defeated Argentina’s Del Potro 6/2; 7/6 (4); 6/3 to lift his third U.S. Open trophy and equaled Pete Sampras’ career 14 Grand Slam titles. It was a match of two players resurging from ailments.

With serves clocking speeds averaging 170mph, both players held serves quickly in the first set as there was no deuce in seven games. In the eighth game, Del Potro led 40-0 on his serve but Djokovic battled to deuce and clinched the break on his first opportunity. He held serve in the ninth to win the set six games to three.

In the second set, Del Potro lost his serve in the third game and Djokovic consolidated to lead 3-1. At 40-30, Del Potro prevailed after a long rally to hold his serve. Djokovic faced a break point at 30-40 and although he got to deuce, he lost the game. Del Potro held at love to lead 4-3. The eighth game was contested for 20 minutes after Djokovic survived the first break point at 30-40 and cancelled three advantages, lost four before holding to level four-all. The set then proceeded to a tiebreak.

Serving first in the tiebreak, Del Potro lost the first point but took Djokovic’s next two service points to lead 3-1. However, Djokovic won his service point, took one of Del Potro’s to level 3-all at changeover and held to lead 4-3. Del Potro lost one of his two service points to give his opponent a 5-4 lead.

Djokovic proceeded to win the last three points to claim the set 7/6, 2 hours and 17 minutes from the start. He led 3-1 in the third set but Del Potro held and broke his opponent in the sixth game. In the eighth game (again), Djokovic earned the break by prevailing in a 24-shot rally that ended with a netted forehand by the lanky Argentinean. The champion served out the ninth game to win set and the match.

When he lost in the third round of the 2018 French Championships in Roland Garros, a dejected Djokovic said he did not know where he was going next. However, across the Channel a few weeks later, he reached the finals of the warm-up in Queens London and proceeded to defeat Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon finals.