Novak Djokovic beats Juan Martin Del Potro to win US Open and 14th Grand Slam title

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Novak Djokovic moved into joint third on the all-time list of male grand slam singles champions by beating Juan Martin del Potro to win the US Open.

Djokovic is now level with Pete Sampras on 14 titles and, after following up his Wimbledon triumph by making it back-to-back slam successes, is closing in once more on Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

With his two-year physical and mental dip apparently firmly behind him, questions will again be posed as to whether he can catch Nadal on 17 or even Federer’s 20.

After all the drama this tournament has created, capped by Saturday’s extraordinary women’s final, the headlines here were all made for the right reasons as Djokovic triumphed 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-3.

Del Potro was the sentimental favourite as he attempted to win a second slam title nine years after his first, having suffered two serious wrist injuries, the second of which he feared would end his career.

But Del Potro needed more than just goodwill to beat Djokovic at his best, he needed his mighty forehand to be flawless and the rest of his game to back it up.

This was not that day, although even at his absolute best he would have struggled to hold off Djokovic on this form.

The Serbian, who had won 14 of their previous 18 meetings, looked to be in total control at a set and 3-1 up but Del Potro began to really unleash on his forehand and the match came alive.

Had Del Potro managed to get across the line in the 20-minute Djokovic service game that followed to lead 5-3, things might have played out differently, but Djokovic hung on.

The protagonists seemed a little spent when it finally ended and settled for the tie-break, where Del Potro led 3-1 but paid for missed forehands as Djokovic claimed six of the next seven points to end a 95-minute set.

Djokovic had only won two of his previous seven finals at Flushing Meadows, losing to four different players, but his sole loss from two sets up at a grand slam came eight years ago so Del Potro’s chances of mounting a miracle recovery appeared slim.

Even more so when Djokovic broke to lead 3-1 in the third set, only for his poise to desert him a little again and allow Del Potro to hit straight back. On break point, Hughes awarded a time violation against Djokovic, much to the Serbian’s annoyance.

But he took the argument no further, and promptly broke Del Potro again before clinching victory with a smash and dropping to the court in celebration.

Djokovic will climb above his opponent to third in the rankings and has a chance to finish the year back at number one – a remarkable feat considering the manner in which he began the season.

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Serena Williams slapped with $17,000 fine for debacle during US Open final

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Serena Williams has been fined a total of $17,000 for her offences during the US Open final.

The 23-time grand slam champion lost her cool after being given a warning for coaching from the stands early in the second set against Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

She was penalised a point for a second offence, smashing her racket, and then a game after she verbally abused umpire Carlos Ramos, calling him a liar and a thief. That put Williams 5-3 down in the second set and she went on to lose 6-2 6-4.

The verbal abuse offence was the most serious and for that Williams has been docked $10,000. The remainder of the fine is made up of $4,000 for coaching and $3,000 for racket abuse.

She earned $1.85million in prize money for reaching the final.

This was supposed to be the day when Williams finally equalled the all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles won by Margaret Court and more than 23,000 fans packed into Arthur Ashe Stadium eager to be a part of her moment.

But instead the final descended into rancour as Williams and Ramos, a very experienced Portuguese official, took centre stage, overshadowing a remarkably composed performance from 20-year-old Osaka in her first grand slam final.

Williams was furious when she was given a coaching violation after Ramos spotted a hand gesture from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, telling the umpire she would rather lose than cheat.

Mouratoglou later admitted to ESPN that he had been coaching, but Williams insisted she had not seen the signal and that they had never discussed such communication.

Mouratoglou, who has worked with Williams since 2012, alleged Osaka’s coach Sascaha Bajin was also coaching, and it is an open secret that such conduct is commonplace.

On-court coaching is allowed on the WTA Tour, but Williams is one of the few players who never uses it.

After dropping serve in the fifth game of the second set and smashing her racket, Williams was given an automatic second violation, resulting in a point penalty, something of which she initially seemed unaware.

She continued her argument with Ramos at the next change of ends and accused him of being a thief for taking a point away from her. Ramos gave her a third violation, which resulted in a game penalty.

A tearful Williams argued her case with tournament referee Brian Earley and grand slam supervisor Donna Kelso, claiming a male player would not have been punished in such a situation, but a tournament statement later confirmed the umpire’s decisions were final.

Asked in her press conference what she would have done differently in hindsight, Williams became increasingly emotional as she said: “I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say he’s a thief, because I thought he took a game from me.

“But I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’. It blows my mind.”

It is not the first time Williams has run into trouble with officials at Flushing Meadows. In a semi-final against Kim Clijsters in 2009, she was penalised for threatening a line judge and put on a two-year probation.

Two years later, during a final loss to Sam Stosur, Williams called umpire Eva Asderaki “a hater” and “unattractive inside” for calling a hindrance penalty against her and was fined.

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The top eight tennis meltdowns of all time with Serena Williams only at No3

Alex Broun 9/09/2018
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Serena Williams confronts officials at the US Open

In the wake of Serena Williams’ jaw-dropping meltdown in the US Open final against Naomi Osaka we decided to look back at some other famous meltdowns in tennis history.

Here’s our top eight tennis tantrums:

8. Goran Ivanisevic (Samsung Open, Brighton, 2000)

There have been a number of cases of players smashing so many racquets they have none left to play with. The crazy Croat, no stranger to outbursts, achieved this considerable feat in England 18 years ago in a second round match against Lee Hjung-taik of South Korea.

In his defence he did not smash them all at once – working his way through the racquets steadily during the match. After he smashed the last one, Ivanisevic explained to the tournament referee his predicament.

The official checked to make sure that was the case, and then defaulted Goran due to lack of appropriate equipment.

RATING: Two smashed racquets

7. Benoit Paire (Citi Open, Washington, 2018)

Trailing Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis, the Frenchman failed to convert an overhead smash and went into full meltdown mode. He smashed not one, not two but three racquets then stomped on his belongings by his chair before picking up another raccqet and bouncing it off the court.

Then, just when you thought it was all over, Paire went out of his way to retrieve the two broken racquets and casually tossed them back onto the court. He lost, of course.

RATING: Three smashed racquets

6. Martina Hingis (French Open, Paris, 1999)

The ultimate example of a player self-destructing. The 18-year-old Hingis, already with five majors under her belt, led Steffi Graf 6-4, 2-0 in the 1999 French Open final when she disputed a line call.

She then became angry when she thought the umpire checked the wrong mark. Hingis walked over to Graf’s side of the net, kept complaining and refused to play until talking to a tournament referee.

That conversation did not go well either, Hingis received a point penalty – and promptly fell apart. Graf came back with ease, winning her 22nd Grand Slam. Hingis would never win another.

RATING: Three smashed racquets

5. Marcos Baghdatis (Australian Open, Melbourne, 2012)

The Cypriot was losing his second round match to Stanislas Wawrinka in Melbourne Park when he let his frustrations get the better of him. Baghdatis sat down in his chair, covered his head with his towel and then proceeded to batter his racquet into the ground until it was a twisted pile of metal and strings.

He then calmly took out another two and did the same thing. To show his versatility, he smashed the fourth not on the side but face down – much harder to do.

Baghdatis then unwrapped his fifth racquet. The crowd waited patiently, would he smash this one as well. Perhaps it was his last because he left it intact and went on to lose the match.

RATING: Four smashed racquets

4. John McEnroe vs Jimmy Connors (exhibition match, Illinois, 1982)

One of the few times when players had to be physically parted on the court. McEnroe was up to his usual dramatics and the older, more experienced Connors had had enough.

He leapt over the net and went to confront McEnroe. “The boxing gloves are going to start coming out, I’m afraid,” he began. McEnroe doesn’t back down and as Connors gets up in his face with a waggling finger McEnroe pushes him away. Connors won the exhibition match in five sets. Exhibition? Imagine if it was for real.

RATING: Four smashed racquets

3. Serena Williams (US Open, Flushing Meadows, 2018)

Trailing in the second set against Naomi Osaka in this year’s US Open final, Williams receives a code-violation for getting coaching from her box. She then smashes a racquet after losing another point which results in a point penalty.

Cue full on meltdown. Williams launches a tirade against the umpire, Carlos Ramos, whom she brands him a “thief.” This is termed verbal abuse and she receives a rare game penalty. Osaka goes on to win but amidst all the drama that becomes secondary.

RATING: Four smashed racquets

2. John McEnroe (Swedish Open, Stockholm, 1984)

McEnroe’s most famous meltdown, made even worse by the fact that it was in the austere locale of Sweden. The world No1 was down one set to Swede Anders Jarryd when he didn’t like a line call.

He approached the chair umpire, Dr. Leif Ake Nilsson, another Swede and bellowed: “No mistakes so far in this match, right?” Nilsson did not reply so McEnroe uttered the famous line: “Answer the question. The question, jerk.”

Despite the outburst, or perhaps because of it, McEnroe went on to win the match and the tournament.

RATING: Five smashed racquets

1. Jeff Tarango (Wimbledon, London, 1995)

The American already had a McEnroe-like reputation and he only enhanced that with this petulant display. After a disputed ace call, Tarango told fans to “shut up”, acted mock disbelief when he was then given a warning, abused the chair umpire leading to another warning and then quit – walking off the court in protest.

He became the first player to do so in a major tournament. The drama wasn’t over – his wife, Bernadette, then crashed the press conference to announce she’d slapped the umpire – twice. Tarango, not surprisingly, was banned from Wimbledon in 1996.

RATING: Five smashed racquets

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