It was also the third time the 31-year-old Serb — who missed last year’s tournament with an elbow injury which sent his career into a mini-crisis — completed the Wimbledon-US Open double.“I want to say Pete, I love you, you’re my idol,” said Djokovic of Sampras.“To the support of the loved ones, my kids, my wife, my small team of people that has been there with me through difficult times as well,” added the Serb who underwent elbow surgery after the Australian Open in January.For world number three Del Potro, it was a heartbreaking experience coming in just his second Slam final, nine years after he was crowned US Open champion before a long battle with wrist injuries pushed him into depression and to the brink of retirement.“When I had my surgery I could truly understand what Juan Martin was going through when he had surgeries that kept him away form the tour for two or three years,” added Djokovic.It was Djokovic’s 15th win over the Del Potro and fifth in five at the Slams.It came in a final which was business-like rather than thrilling, a relief for a tournament still reeling from the controversial women’s final on Saturday.The result also means that 50 of the last 55 majors have been won by the ‘Big Four’ of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray.Del Potro backed Djokovic to surpass Federer’s mark of 20 Slams.“Of course he can. Novak has everything to make records in this sport,” said the Argentine.– ‘My idol’ Djokovic –Best of friends: Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro embrace © AFP / Eduardo MUNOZ ALVAREZ“I was so happy to be playing the final against this magnificent idol,” added Del Potro of his close friend Djokovic.“He knows that he’s one of my friends on tour and he knows he’s one player I want to watch win on tour. Of course I’m sad to lose but I’m happy for Novak as well. You deserve to win.”With the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof closed as heavy rain swept New York, conditions were slow and sluggish.After taking just two points off Del Potro’s first three service games, Djokovic, in his 23rd final at the majors, pounced to break for 5-3.The key was his success with a lung-busting 22-shot rally and he pocketed the set when the 29-year-old del Potro netted a forehand.It was only the second set dropped by the Argentine at the tournament.For Djokovic, it was an illustration of him growing into the championships as he took his run of consecutive sets won to 14, stretching back to the second round against Tennys Sandgren.Djokovic was soon 3-1 up in the second set before Del Potro carved out his first break point of the match to level at 3-3.He had three more chances in the eighth, all saved by Djokovic in a marathon 20-minute game which left even Hollywood superstar Meryl Streep clasping her head in astonishment.The effort took its toll on a suddenly weary-looking Del Potro as a 95-minute set was claimed by Djokovic in the tiebreak.Del Potro was looking at having to become the first man since Pancho Gonzales in 1949 to win the US title from two sets down.Djokovic sprinted into a 3-1 lead in the third set before a battling Del Potro clung on, hitting back for 3-3.But off the back of a 24-shot rally, Djokovic broke again for 5-3 and he was within tantalising touching distance of his 14th Grand Slam title, just three months after he had left Roland Garros in despair after a shattering quarter-final exit.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Mighty roar: Novak Djokovic celebrates a point © AFP / Eduardo MUNOZ ALVAREZNEW YORK, United States, Sep 10 – Novak Djokovic clinched his third US Open title on Sunday with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 triumph over Juan Martin del Potro, taking him level with Pete Sampras’s mark of 14 Grand Slams.Djokovic, playing in his eighth final in New York and already the champion in 2011 and 2015, is now just three Slams behind Rafael Nadal and six back from the all-time record 20 held by Roger Federer.
0Shares0000Ajax in wonderland: Donny van de Beek scored the winner as Ajax beat Tottenham 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final © AFP / Adrian DENNISLONDON, United Kingdom, May 1 – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted he was at fault as Ajax closed in on a first Champions League final for 23 years thanks to Donny van de Beek’s early goal to win the first leg of their semi-final 1-0 on Tuesday.Van de Beek’s opener on 15 minutes was just reward for the Dutch side’s first-half dominance as Tottenham badly missed the presence of the injured Harry Kane and suspended Son Heung-min. Tottenham improved after the break despite another injury blow as Jan Vertonghen had to be helped down the tunnel after a sickening head knock, but lacked the inspiration needed to get back on level terms without their two top scorers.“Watching now of course I can accept it was a mistake the shape we used. But there were not too many options,” said Pochettino.“I am not happy, but our lack of energy from the beginning made our game difficult. We were a little sloppy.”Ajax had shown they are not fazed on the road despite the tender age of many of their squad by shocking Real Madrid and Juventus away to reach the last four and started confidently.Hakim Ziyech’s through ball picked out midfielder Van de Beek who took his time to leave Hugo Lloris prone before slotting into the bottom corner.“I think it was an amazing evening, an amazing result,” said Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.“In the beginning we very strong, we were completely dominating the game and we made a fantastic goal.”Lloris kept his side in the game 10 minutes later from another Van de Beek effort as Ajax threatened to run riot.“The way we conceded the goal was so painful, I think we were so poor in this action,” added Pochettino.“They showed more energy than us, but I think after 30 minutes we started to equalise the game.”– Spurs miss Kane and Son –On top of Kane and Son, Spurs were shorn of the injured Erik Lamela and Harry Winks and lost another key player when Vertonghen came off worst as he contested a high ball with Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana and teammate Toby Alderweireld.Tottenham’s injury woes continued as Jan Vertonghen (left) was forced off with a head knock © IKIMAGES/AFP / Ian KINGTONThe Belgian was patched up and briefly returned to the field before having to be helped down the tunnel leading to questions over why the Spurs medical staff allowed him to continue.“I wasn’t involved,” insisted Pochettino. “It is the doctors’ decision.“I think (the health of the player) is so important, the protocol is there and our medical staff follow the protocol.”Despite that latest blow, the hosts reacted well to end the half on top with Vertonghen’s replacement Moussa Sissoko driving a long-range effort wide.Pochettino’s half-time pep talk had the desired effect as Spurs dug deep into their energy reserves to raise the tempo and intensity of their display after the break.Yet, the quality needed in the final third to get back on level terms was missing without Kane and Son.“We arrived in the last third but we didn’t find a way to create clear chances,” continued Pochettino. “Always we missed the last pass or shot.”Ajax did not make the most of their chances on the break to kill the tie off, but were unfortunate when David Neres’s effort back across Lloris left the French captain helpless only for the ball to rebound back off the post.“We could have kept the ball more and played calmer and that creates opportunities,” said Ten Hag.“With for instance Neres that he didn’t score that was such a pity. Nevertheless winning 1-0 in Tottenham is an amazing result.“We know we can do a lot better next week to finish it off.”Son will be back for the trip to Amsterdam next Wednesday and Spurs will hope the South Korean can repeat his double away to Manchester City in the last eight, but Ajax are in pole position for a final against Barcelona or Liverpool come June 1 in Madrid.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)