Novak Djokovic keeps on etching his name into the tennis record books. The 31-year-old Serbian only won one Grand Slam title before his breakout 2011 season (the 2008 Australian Open). Since 2011, though, Djokovic has dominated the tennis world. He has now won 13 Slam titles this decade, in addition to four year-end championships and numerous other titles.
With his win over 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday in straight sets 6-3 7-6 6-3, Djokovic tied Pete Sampras for third all-time on the men’s Grand Slam list with 14 titles. Djokovic has won six Australian Open titles, four Wimbledons, three US Opens, and one French Open title.
Coming into this match, both players looked in good form, and it was anyone’s guess who would win. Djokovic entered the match after easily defeating Kei Nishikori in the semifinals. While Nishikori is a talented player, he has struggled against the Serbian ever since upsetting him in the 2014 US Open semifinal. Meanwhile, Del Potro entered the final after winning two convincing sets against Rafael Nadal, after which the Spaniard had to retire due to injury. Mostly due to Djokovic’s absence for the second half of the 2017 season, he actually entered this tournament a lower seed than this Argentinian counterpart–#6 as opposed to #3.
The #6 seed, however, began the match in more convincing form. Good play and serving from each saw neither player earn a break point chance in the first seven games. In the eighth game of the set, however, the Serbian pounced. After forcing the game to deuce, two Del Potro errors led to the first break of the match. One service game later, and the first set went to Djokovic.
The Serbian took an early break lead in the second set, and it looked like the match would quickly be over. Del Potro, with the crowd firmly backing on, fought his way back, bringing the set back to on serve. With the Argentine up 4-3 the pair played a marathon game that lasted over 20 minutes. The #6 seed eventually held, but couldn’t find any purchase in the next service game. The second set would wear on into a tiebreak after routine holds from 4-4. That second set tiebreak went to 4-4 but Djokovic won the final three points of the tiebreak, including two points on his serve, to take a seemingly insurmountable 2 set to love lead.
The third set saw Djokovic take control of the contest early, and continue to stamp his mark on another memorable grand slam win, Djokovic broke Del Potro for 3-1 and looked well on his way, but Del Potro would throw one last wild card into proceedings, breaking Djokovic right back in a long service game, as his powerful forehand continued to keep him alive. Even while looking exhausted, Del Potro would hold the next game to get back on serve 3-3. Djokovic stayed in the fight however and eventually Del Potro’s exhaustion led to errors, Novak held his serve and then broke Del Potro for a 5-3 lead, the next game he served for the match and history. Del Potro still didn’t give up, as Djokovic was made to compete until the very last, the final game going to 30 all, but Djokovic did what he’s best at and in a clutch display shut the door to capture victory in straight sets.