While the women's final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will go down as one of the most dramatic and eventful Grand Slam finals in history, Djokovic focused purely on the task at hand as he slugged it out with Juan Martin del Potro.
6-3 victory in three hours and 15 minutes drew him level with legendary American Pete Sampras on 14 Grand Slam titles, leaving him only behind his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In the years between toppling Roger Federer in the 2009 final and Sunday's match, del Potro almost quit tennis after undergoing four wrist surgeries, three of them on his left wrist, that left him in a deep depression and had him seriously weighing retirement.
Del Potro was looking at having to become the first man since Pancho Gonales in 1949 to win the U.S. title from two sets down.
Djokovic, playing in his eighth final in NY and already the champion in 2011 and 2015, is now just three Slams behind Rafael Nadal and six back from the record 20 held by Roger Federer.
The sixth seed survived three break points in the following game, an epic that lasted more than 20 minutes, in a pivotal moment.
The disappointment on Sunday belonged to a teary Del Potro who was back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since the big Argentine won his one and only title at Flushing Meadows in 2009.
"I want to say Pete, I love you, you're my idol", said Djokovic of Sampras.
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"When I had a surgery of my elbow earlier this year I could truly understand what Juan Martin was going through with his surgeries for two or three years that kept him away from the tour".
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.
Things looked ominous for Del Potro as Djokovic seized control early on, moving magnificently and constructing a number of superb points with precision striking.
Those produce free points against so many foes. He was handed a time violation on break point and Del Potro struck to claw his way back into the tie.
Head-to-head, Djokovic leads Del Potro 14-4, but the Argentinian is a powerhouse.
In a tight opening set, there was only a single break point and Djokovic made it count to go up 5-3 before serving it out.
It all bothered Djokovic, who started yelling and gesturing toward the seats.
"Of course I'm sad I [lost]", del Potro said.