Novak Djokovic has drawn level with American great Pete Sampras with the third-most men's grand slam singles titles following a straight-sets victory over Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open final at Flushing Meadows.
With the win on Sunday, Djokovic has extended his head-to-head record against Del Potro to 15-4 as the Argentine was unable to upstage the Serb.
The Serbian tennis star, the champion in 2011 and 2015, was playing his eighth final in NY.
Djokovic has 13 Grand Slam titles, while Del Potro has just one, a U.S. Open championship he wrested from then-defending champion Roger Federer back in 2009.
Del Potro, seeded third, was appearing in the second Grand Slam final of his career nine years after reaching his first.
Nadal, Federer and Djokovic last occupied the top three spots in the rankings in April 2015.
But his 10 career wins over number one-ranked players are the most by any player never to hold the number one ranking - and further proof, Djokovic said, that del Potro is among the elite. "They deserve to win".
"He's my idol. Pete, I love you", Djokovic said".
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Juan Martin del Potro believes Novak Djokovic can end his career as the most successful Grand Slam title victor, surpassing Roger Federer's current mark of 20.
Some two hours after the match, del Potro walked out to the players garden to a greeting from his group of about a dozen friends who have led the cheers from his box, supporters from back home he has credited with keeping his spirits up during the depressing days when he was injured. "When they shout "Ole, ole, ole, ole", that's what I hear", he said of the chants for Del Potro. "I really wish him all the best and I know he's going to stand here again with the champions trophy".
With all the singing and noise levels inside the stadium, it felt to Djokovic like he was at a football match but he thanked the fans of both sides for creating such an wonderful atmosphere.
Del Potro's movement went from nimble to clunky after that.
The tension and fireworks of the Osaka-Williams clash were left behind during a relatively calm and composed baseline battle between two friends and familiar foes, who had played each other 18 times, with Djokovic holding a commanding 14-4 edge.
When it ended, thanks to a three-game closing run by Djokovic, he flung his racket away and landed on his back, arms and legs spread wide.
A series of missed forehands by del Potro in the tiebreaker put Djokovic back on course.
The game went to deuce eight times, del Potro had a break chance three times, he nearly made it as Djokovic committed his first double fault of the match.