Following two weeks of some of the best tennis all season long, the US Open Final is set. For the first time in a major final, Juan Martin del Potro will take on Novak Djokovic in what projects to be a classic encounter of two of the top players in the game today (4 PM ET Sunday).
In 2017, the 31-year-old Novak Djokovic suffered the biggest loss of his career when he was defeated in the second round of the Australian Open putting an end to his hopes for a threepeat. It was the first time in a decade that Djokovic lost in the Australian Open so early and the first time in his entire career he lost to a player ranked outside of the top 100 during a grand slam tournament. In the French Open that year, he lost in the quarterfinals, the same result he had at Wimbledon as he was forced to retire against Tomas Berdych due to an elbow injury which would end up keeping him out over a year and a half.
Djokovic returned in January 2018 but questions remained. 2017 was Djokovic’s worst major year since he broke into the top three in 2011 and his play early on this year didn’t indicate a return to peak performance. Again, Djokovic lost early in the Australian Open, surprisingly ousted in straight sets in the third round. This was followed by a second elbow surgery and he missed another two months of play. Djokovic returned in March with back-to-back second round losses at Indian Wells and the Miami Open.
It wasn’t until the Madrid Masters however, that Djokovic’s return to form would begin to show. For the first time in 10 months he defeated a top-10 opponent in Kei Nishikori, the same man he would later defeat in the US Open semifinal. But before that, Djokovic reached the quarterfinals of the French Open, matching his best major finish since 2017. Then Wimbledon happened: As the 12th seed, Djokovic got his biggest win since returning from injury as he defeated Rafael Nadal in the semis and Kevin Anderson in the final to win his 13th title and fourth at Wimbledon. He followed this up with a win at the Cincinnati Masters, which made Djokovic the first player to win the Golden Masters, which is achieved by claiming titles at all nine ATP Masters 1000 events at least once.
Now, Djokovic is back in another major final and looks as good as he did when he was at the top of his game from 2011-2016. Djokovic has only dropped two sets so far in the US Open and it happened in his first and second matches. Since then however, Djokovic has looked crisp. Granted, he hasn’t had to face a super tough list of opponents, but nevertheless, Djokovic looks poised to win his second major of the year, something no one likely expected when the year started.
Major #2 for the Argentine?
Djokovic’s opponent on Sunday is a man he has faced 18 times, coming out on top in 14 of those meetings, including each of the last three. But that doesn’t mean that 29-year-old Juan Martin del Potro should be counted out so easily as he is playing some of the best tennis of his career. Perhaps even better than his history-making run in 2009.
Just four years into his professional career, del Potro entered the 2009 US Open not expected to make much noise. He ended that tournament having done exactly the opposite. Defeating Nadal and Roger Federer in the same tournament, making him the first man to do so, del Potro won his first and only title, also making him the only man outside of the Big Four to win a major in the 2009-13 span.
Following that breakout, expectations were high for del Potro but his career was marred with injuries that always seemed to leave him taking one step forward and two steps back. A wrist injury kept him out of much of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, but when he returned, del Potro won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, recorded his best finish at Wimbledon by reaching the semis in 2013, and won the silver medal in the 2016 Olympics. He had to defeat Nadal and Djokovic to do so, and this was when the Serbian was at the top of his game. Del Potro helped his native Argentina win the Davis Cup in 2016 and followed this up by winning the Indian Wells Masters this year and achieving his career high No. 3 ranking.
In reaching the finals of the US Open, del Potro has only dropped one set and that came in the quarterfinals against John Isner. His biggest win came in the semis against Nadal, who had to unfortunately retire due to injury. However, that win has left del Potro perhaps a little fresher than his opponent. With a 1-0 record in major finals and coming off some of the best tennis of his career, del Potro’s chances to win his second US Open aren’t as slim as they might seem.
Our Preview’s US Open Final Picks & Predictions Verdict
This has been a great US Open, full of top level matches and performances. This final shouldn’t be any different. As the conclusion to the tennis major season, look for both guys to give everything they have in what is hopefully not a heat-affected day, the way much of the tournament has been.
These are the US Open Final predictions for this tennis preview, taking account of the odds available at all the major American friendly sportsbooks:
- Djokovic is favored to win by four games, which suggests close sets throughout. Look for del Potro to best this spread as he is our pick to win it all. Bet del Potro +4 games @ -110 with Bovada.
- As for the total number of games, Bovada has the over/under set at 40.5. This would equate to about four sets. We predict this one will go the distance, the full five sets, so look for the over 40.5 games @ best odds of -10 with Bovada.