By Jake Davies
- Five reasons why Juan Martin del Potro will win US Open 2018
NEW YORK, USA – Juan Martin Del Potro contests just a second major final, his first in nine years and we look at five reasons why he will come out on top and claim his second major title.
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Power of the forehand
This particular match-up really draws up two very different approaches and game-styles. Juan Martin Del Potro is obviously renowned for his unbelievable power from the back of the court, while Novak Djokovic does most of his damage through his ability to defend well but turn that defensive point into a positive and aggressive one. Djokovic’s defensive skills will truly be tested in this encounter as Del Potro has the power and the velocity behind the forehand side to really break through the defence of anyone. He not only can be dangerous when he has two or three seconds to set up for that explosive shot, but he also is incredibly destructive even when you make up hit forehands on the run. Djokovic will know what he has to prepare for, but preparing for it and dealing with it on match day are two very different things.
Options on the backhand
Del Potro may have achieved most of his success because of the devastating impact on the forehand side, but the backhand wing is the shot that really has improved and it is something that allows him to have even more options at his disposal especially when he comes up against Top-10 players. In recent years, it has been a shot that he predominantly slices, but now it is returning to the similar kind of form as his 2009 self. During his semi-final victory against Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard tried and tried to break that side down, but Del Potro held firm and started hitting over that shot, which essentially made it a viable attacking option. The Argentine is a different player and is less vulnerable when he takes this sort of action during the rally.
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It is important that Del Potro serves well
It is important that the Argentine serves well. Coming into the final Del Potro has been winning 82% of his first serve points, which emphasises just how critical and significant that shot is, but it bears even more significance when he comes up against Djokovic in Sunday’s final. Del Potro desperately needs to hit a high percentage of first serves in in order to keep Djokovic at arms length and prevent the Serbian from stepping in on the return, but he also needs those first serves to be able to play a high percentage of first forehands as the first shot after the serve in order to dominate the course of a rally.
Playing with house money
Del Potro’s bad luck with injuries has been well-documented. He has had three surgeries on his left wrist and another one on his right in 2010, but has somehow fought through those tough moments to claw his way back to the Top-10 and now sits at a career high ranking of No.3 in the world. You could argue the case that the Argentine is really playing with house money. It would beyond his wildest dreams to imagine being back in this situation, not only competing at Grand Slams, but finding a way to be at the business end of tournaments competing for the big titles, so Del Potro will savour the moment and enjoy a moment he probably did not think would arrive again.
Del Potro’s favourite and most successful Grand Slam
Del Potro is one of the best hard court players in the world, but not only manages to maintain his hard-court form on tour and bring it into these majors, but he is able to play at an even greater level when he arrives at Flushing Meadows. En route to his one and only Grand Slam title in 2009, Del Potro beat Marin Cilic, Nadal and Roger Federer all in a row, which further illustrates that on a good day he is as good as anyone on this surface.
The US Open Men’s Singles final is scheduled on Arthur Ashe Stadium at 4pm (9pm BST).
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