While Djokovic laid on the ground in ecstasy Sunday, del Potro sat in his chair and cried.
When another forehand error cost Del Potro his serve early in the second, all the momentum was with Djokovic. He was barking at himself, at his entourage, at a crowd vocally supporting his opponent, Juan Martin del Potro.
"We are proud to be close to these legends", Del Potro said.
Djokovic was far superior to del Potro in the opening set, then dropped three consecutive games in the second to trail 4-3.
Thankfully, Del Potro's injury woes look to be behind him.
Djokovic sprinted into a 3-1 lead in the third set before a battling Del Potro clung on, hitting back for 3-3.
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With the quality of tennis only on the rise, the noise level inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium was deafening.
Del Potro's forehand is among the most intimidating weapons in the sport, but it misfired under relentless pressure towards the end of the first set, Djokovic breaking in the eighth game - at the end of a 22-shot rally - and taking the opener. He depended on his hometown friends, a group of whom have been in NY throughout the fortnight to lead cheers in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and worked his way back to the final at his favorite ATP Tour event.
Former world no. 1 missed the US Open last year due to a bothersome elbow that required surgery but post-surgery, Djokovic has returned to the fray and looks confident to lift the title this year.
"When I had the surgery of my elbow earlier this year, I could truly understand what Juan Martin was going through with his surgeries for 2-3 years that kept him away from tour".
"To support of my loved ones, my kids, my wife, my team of people that has been there with me through hard times as well".
"I want to say Pete, I love you, you're my idol", said Djokovic of Sampras.
"I believe he'll be here again with the champion's trophy".
Amidst the searing heat and disturbing humidity of NY for the past two weeks, Djokovic battled through and rose above it all to shine under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights for the third time. "They deserve to win".