Novak Djokovic crushed Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets in the US Open final on Sunday to clinch his third title at the tournament and 14th Grand Slam trophy. Djokovic won 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 over the Argentine to make it back to back Grand Slam titles after having won the Wimbledon as well.
Djokovic breezed past Kei Nishikori in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, whilst Del Potro’s expected battle with Rafael Nadal largely failed to materialise.
Struggling as early as the fourth game of the match with a knee injury, Nadal’s condition steadily got worse, and, by the time he was forced to quit at the end of the second set with the Argentine leading by two sets, he was a virtual spectator on court.
For two-time winner Djokovic this will be a record-equalling seventh US Open Final, whilst, for his opponent, it will be his second, coming almost nine years to the day after his solitary Grand Slam title to date, when he beat Roger Federer in straight sets.
Del Potro has had a difficult intervening period, with an ongoing series of writs problems blighting his career, almost forcing him to quit the sport altogether at one point.
He has displayed a lot of determination to fight his way back, so much so that he attained his highest ever world ranking of 3 going into the tournament. Djokovic has had his own injury and off-field issues in the past 18 months, which is why, despite being the reigning Wimbledon Champion, he was actually seeded below Del Potro this year.
However, if the head-to-head records of the two men are compared, all the omens point to a Djokovic victory. The pair have met 18 times, and the Serb has emerged victorious on 14 occasions, with the most recent meeting coming on the clay of Rome last year, where he won comfortably in two sets.
Those looking for shreds of comfort for Del Potro will point to the fact that three of his four victories against Djokovic have come on hard courts, the last being at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
They will also argue out that the Argentine has had a comparatively easy passage to the final, only dropping one set to John Isner in the quarter-finals.
Djokovic too, has also dropped only the one set, to Tennys Sandgren in the second round, but he has had problems with the heat and humidity at Flushing Meadows this year, and has physically struggled on occasions.
However, in cooler conditions against Nishikori he excelled, and with the weather forecast indicating that both temperature and humidity levels are set to drop further over the weekend, he should not face the same problems as he did earlier in the tournament.
Del Potro may push him close, but it is hard to see beyond a Djokovic victory, a triumph which would see him pull level with the record of Pete Sampras of 14 Grand Slam singles’ titles.
The final will take place on Sunday, September 9, starting at 4 pm New York time.