Novak Djokovic Topples Del Potro To Win US Open Title - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Topples Del Potro To Win US Open Title

The former world No.1 has triumphed at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2015 after battling past a spirited Del Potro.

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Novak Djokovic has clinched his 14th grand slam title following a pulsating 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3, win over Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the US Open.

The former world No.1 was in clinical fashion against a player who dropped just one set on route to Sunday’s showdown. Djokovic’s defensive play combined with a clear game plan was reminiscent of his best tennis.  Illustrated by the 32 winners he produced throughout the encounter. Continuing a stunning run on the tour that has seen him lose only one match since June.

“My success this summer is because of the support of the loved ones.” Djokovic said during the trophy ceremony. “When I had my surgery at my elbow at the beginning of the year I learned what Delpo was going through. That’s when you draw from the support of the loved ones and thrive on that support”

Heading into the match, Djokovic’s recent record against the Argentine has been flawless. Last year he defeated Del Potro in all three of their meetings to extend his overall head-to-head record to 14-4. Nevertheless, Del Potro’s thunderous forehand posed a danger as he was cheered on by his army of fans inside the Arthur Ashe stadium.

“It was great to play the final next to this idol, he’s one of my friends on tour, I’m happy for Novak, he deserves to win.” Del Potro said in tribute to his rival.
“He knows that he’s one of my friends on tour and one player I want to watch winning titles. Of course I’m sad because I lost, but I’m happy for Novak.”

After a close start between both players, Djokovic pounced in the eighth game of the match.     His game plan of patiently waiting for his opponent to buckle during some lengthy rallies proved successful. Trailing 15-40, Djokovic valiantly battled back by winning five consecutive points to break for a 5-3 lead. Triggering a cheer from his entourage. Gaining in momentum, the Serbian went on to clinch his first set point with the help of a perfectly placed 104 mph serve out wide that was unsuccessfully returned. Before seizing the 6-3 lead at the expense of a Del Potro forehand slamming into the net.

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The opener was a precursor to an electrifying 95-minute second set that delighted the New York crowd. Initially Djokovic looked destined to race towards the finish line after breaking for a 6-3, 3-1, lead. However, a fiery Del Potro powered his way back into the match with a three-game winning streak. To add to the drama, Djokovic was then forced to save a trio of break points during a marathon 20-minute service game to draw level at 4-4. During what was one of the most dramatic sets of the entire tournament, it was ironically Del Potro’s trusted forehand that was his undoing. Djokovic’s relentless defensive play drew three consecutive errors from his rival as he eventually seal the tiebreaker in his favour.

Closing in on his first US Open title since 2015, the roller coaster continued as both players exchanged breaks during the third frame. Nevertheless, Djokovic manoeuvred himself to a game away from victory after breaking once more for a 5-3 lead. Serving for the championships, he claimed glory with a smash at the net. Resulting in him collapsing onto the ground in jubilation.

Djokovic, who missed six months of the tour last year due to an elbow injury, has become the third most decorated grand slam champion in the history of men’s tennis. With 14 major titles to his name, he ties with his idol Pete Sampras.

“I was hoping he was going to be here (at the US Open) tonight. Pete, I love you, you’re my idol.” He said in a tribute to the 47-year-old. “I hope to see you on court.”

The newly crowned New York champion continued with his tributes by praising Del Potro’s comeback to the tour. The 2009 champion has been hindered by wrist issues throughout his career and underwent four surgeries. At one point he contemplated retiring from the sport.

“I want to congratulate Juan Martin for what he has done through these years through all his problems, I know he’s going to be back here with the championship trophy.”  Djokovic concluded.

Djkovic has become only the eighth man in the Open Era to win both Wimbledon and the US Open titles within the same season.

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat Mike Bryan and Jack Sock to secure first spot in Group Knowles/Nestor

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut cruised past 2018 Wimbledon and US Open champions Mike Bryan and Jack Sock 6-2 6-2 in just 52 minutes in the night session to qualify for the semifinals as first placer in the Group Knowles/Nestor. The Frenchmen needed a win a set to secure their spot in the semifinal.

Herbert and Mahut broke twice in the fourth and eight games to seal the first set 6-2. They got two more breaks in the fourth and eighth games to claim the second set by the same scoreline. The French Open champions converted four of the eight break points, saved both break points they faced and won 89 % of the first serve points. They avenged their recent defeat against the US pair in Paris Bercy.

Herbert and Mahut have secured the first spot in the Group Knowles and Nestor with a 2-1 record. They have qualified for the first time in four appearances at this tournament.

The French team set up a semifinal against Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. In the other semifinal Bryan and Sock will take on Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.

Lukasz Kubot from Poland and Marcelo Melo from Brazil beat doubles world number 1 pair and 2018 Australian Open champions Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 after 1 hour and 40 minutes to score the first win  in the Group Knowles/Nestor at the Nitto ATP Finals. Kubot and Melo have kept their hopes of qualifying for the semifinal.

Kubot and Melo converted three of their five break points and fended off two of the four chances.

The Polish and Brazilian team have won four doubles this year in Sydney, Halle, Beijing and Shanghai and lost the US Open final to Mike Bryan and Jack Sock.

 

Melo got the first break in the first game of the opening set with a backhand return. Marach and Pavic broke back in the fourth game, when Kubot made a double fault. Melo sealed the tie-break on the second set point, when Pavic hit a return long.

 

Marach and Pavic broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead, but Kubot and Melo broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. In the tenth game Kubot hit a backhand down the middle, when Pavic was serving at 5-4 40-30. Kubot sealed the win, when Pavic netted a forehand volley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Becoming A Father Has Helped John Isner Achieve The Best Season Of His Career

The world No.10 reflects on becoming a father in September and the impact it has had on his life as a professional athlete.

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John Isner at the 2018 ATP Finals (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

John Isner exits the ATP Finals with a mixture of disappointment and pride following his loss to Alexander Zverev on Friday.

Isner, who was playing in the year-end finale for the first time in his career, was knocked out in straight sets by his 21-year-old opponent. Bringing a close to what has been the most successful season of his career. Isner has won two ATP titles, including his first at Masters level in Miami, and reached his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon.

“There’s definitely some things I could have done better. Didn’t come into this tournament with that much momentum. I think that maybe showed a little bit.” He commented about his week in London.
“I did have a good year, but I had a lot of losses, as well. I had three really good tournaments. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get inside the top 10, which is what I did this year.” He added.

A player breaking through on the tour in their early thirties is becoming a regular occurrence in the world of men’s tennis. However, in Isner’s case, his rise hasn’t entirely been down to everything he has learned on the court. 2018 also saw him become a father. In September his wife, Madison, gave birth to a baby girl called Hunter Grace.

There is a saying that once somebody becomes a parent their perspective on life changes. Something the American No.1 agrees with. The question is what influence has it had on Isner’s tennis?

“I think it’s definitely a life-changing moment for myself and my wife. For me professionally, I think it can definitely help going forward.” He commented about fatherhood.
“I just think prior to our daughter being born, getting married is another big step. That definitely settles things down personally. We were always dating and together, but we took that next step. It was the perfect timing for all of it.
“Everything has gone pretty fluidly in my personal life, so I think that certainly helps. That’s why I’ve at times this year played remarkably well.”

The perspective is one that mirrors some of his peers. Novak Djokovic said in July that fatherhood was his ‘biggest motivation’ for winning Wimbledon. Meanwhile, Roger Federer once said in 2012 that his twin daughters “helped his game more than anything.’

Finding harmony in his life both on and off the court, Isner believes he can improve further heading into the new year. He ends his season with a win-loss record of 34-22, including his three victories over top 10 players at the Miami Open in March.

“Going forward, I’ll be looking to play well in the big events again. There’s still a lot of room for improvement for me. I started the year off in 2018 in pretty poor form. So I can improve on that. If I can, I can possibly improve my ranking and give myself more momentum early on in the season.”

Isner concludes 2018 inside the year-end top 10 on the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.

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Marin Cilic: “Djokovic is playing very well, but I believe I can play a great match against him”

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This year’s Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic will face Novak Djokovic for the fourth time this year in their third round-robin in the Guga Kuerten Group at the Nitto ATP Open at the O2 Arena in London.

Djokovic has already secured his spot in the semifinal after his two matches against John Isner (6-4 6-3) and Alexander Zverev (6-4 6-1)

Cilic lost to Zverev 7-6 7-6 in the first match, but he took a much-needed 6-7 6-3 6-4 win in three sets over John Isner to keep his chance of qualifying for the semifinals.

Djjokovic leads Cilic 16-2 in their career head-to-head matches. This year Cilic beat Djokovic in the final at Queen’s after saving a match point, but he lost to his Serbian rival in Cincinnati and in the Paris Bercy quarter finals.

Since that defeat against Cilic at Queen’s last summer Djokovic has lost just matches to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov in the Paris Bercy final, but Cilic is still confident that he can beat the world number 1 player.

“The last few meetings between us were really tough at Queen’s, Cincinnati and Paris Bercy. Novak is playing really phenomenally. At the ATP Finals he showed a great form in his first two matches. I will have to maximally prepare for the match. Obviously serving well is going to critical. I am feeling good. I think I have played two quality matches here at the O2 Arena. I had a lot of chances against Zverev, but I didn’t capitalize on them. I believe I can play a great match against Novak. I hope I can win the match”,said Cilic.

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