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Nadal retires in US Open semi

08 September, 2018, 10:58 | Author: Drew Briggs
  • Novak Djokovic Roger Federer Rafael Nadal have been my role models

World number one and defending champion Nadal, a three-time US Open champion takes on 2009 victor and world number three Del Potro in their third Grand Slam meeting this year.

On Sunday, the powerful Argentine with the massive forehand that zips along at more than 100 miles per hour (160 kph) will face two-time U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic or 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal retired from his U.S. Open semifinal because of a painful right knee after dropping the opening two sets, putting Juan Martin del Potro back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since he won the 2009 title at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic, the 2011 and 2015 champion, will be looking to complete the Wimbledon-US Open double for a third time when he tackles the 2009 victor in NY with a 14th major within touching distance.

The 32-year-old was forced to retire after suffering since early on in the match, and del Potro paid the world Spaniard the ultimate tribute. "I will have to play at my highest level to keep having chances of success".

Djokovic missed the tournament past year because of an injured right elbow that eventually required surgery.

He's a big-match player.

Nadal was devastated by having to pull out although he believes he hasn't suffered any long term damage.

"They are very important for me to be in this stage at the moment because they were behind me in (those) years, trying to keep my mind in positive way, (to) never give up during my wrist problems", Del Potro said.

"That was not a tennis match at the end".

The Serb has shown remarkable consistency in NY over the years, reaching the semi-finals on 11 occasions, although he has only converted two of his deep runs into titles thus far.

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Nadal's stamina and famous fitness have been put to the test on the sweltering Flushing Meadows hardcourts as he has logged almost 16 hours through five matches.

Nishikori improved in the second set, coming to the net more often, but Djokovic was in imperious form.

"Well of course it's not the best way to win a match".

The No. 1-seeded Nadal has a history of tendinitis in his knees and he said he felt a problem in the right one early in the first set.

But the big Argentine swept through the tiebreaker, wrapping up the opener after 69 minutes of impressive shot-making.

After the third game of the second set, he had a medical timeout so the trainer could massage his right leg and once again apply tape.

Del Potro advanced when Rafael Nadal retired after the second set with a knee injury. He fended off the only two break points he faced and broke the Japanese again for a 3-2 lead.

"I didn't expect to get into another Grand Slam final", del Potro said. "I still here. I still here because I love what I am doing", said Nadal.

"I waited as much as I can".

The 17-time Grand Slam champion also reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open this year, as well as the semi-finals at Wimbledon. The negative thing is two of them have been in the quarterfinals and semifinals of a grand slam, close to fight for titles.

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