The USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. Photo: Jason Szenes/EPA

NEW YORK – Men's final on Sunday, the 14th day of the US Open:

Juan Martin del Potro (Argentinia, seeded 3) v Novak Djokovic (Serbia, seeded 6)

Djokovic opened 2018 beset by injury and self-doubts. But the Serbian star ended a 54-week title drought in spectacular style with a 13th Grand Slam title since Wimbledon, and stamped himself a tournament favorite with a Cincinnati Masters title. One year after missing the tournament with an elbow injury, Djokovic is playing in an eighth US Open final -- although he's parlayed those appearances into just two titles, in 2011 and 2015.

In 2009 champion Del Potro, ranked a career-high third in the world, he faces a player hungry to add to his Grand Slam resume after career-threatening injuries slowed him for years.

“We've never faced each other in a Grand Slam final, so that's something new,” said Djokovic, who has won 14 of 18 meetings with Del Potro. 

“When you play a big server like Del Potro, you feel pressure also on your service games. There are few other things that I have in mind, knowing him from the matches we previously played against each other.”

Del Potro's take: “I didn’t expect to get these kind of emotions playing tennis again. Reaching finals, winning titles, having my highest ranking ever in this moment. Everything is almost perfect.”

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Head to head: Djokovic leads 14-4

2017 Rome             Clay QF   Djokovic 6-1, 6-4
2017 Indian Wells     Hard R32  Djokovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-1
2017 Acapulco         Hard R16  Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
2016 Rio Olympics     Hard R64  Del Potro 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2)
2013 ATP Finals       Hard RR   Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
2013 Shanghai         Hard F    Djokovic 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7/3)
2013 Wimbledon        Grass SF  Djokovic 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (8/6), 6-3  
2013 Indian Wells     Hard SF   Del Potro 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
2013 Dubai            Hard SF   Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
2012 ATP Finals       Hard SF   Djokovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
2012 US Open          Hard QF   Djokovic 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
2012 Cincinnati       Hard SF   Djokovic 6-3, 6-2
2012 London Olympics  Grass Bronze Del Potro 7-5, 6-4
2011 Davis Cup        Hard SF   Del Potro 7-6, 3-0 retired
2011 French Open      Clay R32  Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
2009 Rome             Clay QF   Djokovic 6-3, 6-4
2008 Masters Cup      Hard RR   Djokovic 7-5, 6-3
2007 US Open          Hard R32  Djokovic 6-1, 6-3, 6-4

Paths to US Open final

Juan Martin Del Potro:

R1 bt Donald Young (USA) 6-0, 6-3, 6-4
R2 bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)
R3 bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP x31) 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
R4: bt Borna Coric (CRO x20) 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
QF: bt John Isner (USA x11) 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2
SF: bt Rafael Nadal (ESP x1)  7-6 (7/3), 6-2 - retired

Juan Martin del Potro in action against Rafael Nadal. Photo: Brian Hirschfeld/EPA
Juan Martin del Potro in action against Rafael Nadal. Photo: Brian Hirschfeld/EPA

Novac Djokovic

R1: bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0
R2: bt Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2
R3: bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
R4: bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
QF: bt John Millman (AUS) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
SF: bt Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Novak Djokovic in action against Kei Nishikori. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA
Novak Djokovic in action against Kei Nishikori. Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

Agence France-Presse (AFP)