Novak Djokovic handles Kei Nishikori to set up delicious Del Potro showdown

Novak Djokovic handles Kei Nishikori to set up delicious Del Potro showdown

Nadal suffered problems with his right knee during his third-round win over Russian Karen Khachanov but insisted it was not a major issue and subsequently won gruelling matches against Nikoloz Basilashvili and Dominic Thiem.

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.

Nadal's challenge looked doomed even as early as the first set, as he was feeling the injury after just four games, he admitted.

Nadal, who had never before retired from a US Open match, showed signs of distress nearly from the start as he limped noticeably after a gruelling 69-minute opening set.

"That was not a tennis match at the end, no?" And while he still had the devastating forehand that's been one of tennis' signature shots and carried him to the 2009 title, repeated wrist injuries had made him one dimensional on the backhand side.

Nadal continued but, after Del Potro won the second set to lead 7-6 (7/3) 6-2, Nadal had one last chat with the trainer, shook his head and offered his hand to his opponent.

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"I waited as much as I can", said Nadal. He'll attempt to win his second U.S. Open title nine years after he defeated Rafa Nadal then Roger Federer to win his only career major title.

Rafael Nadal gave and gave at this U.S. Open, spending 17 hours and 55 minutes pounding his 32-year-old knees on hard court and supplying two marathon blocks of entertainment before his body finally gave out.

"It was hard for me to keep playing".

Djokovic has dropped only two sets en route to the final.

An eighth final is within reach and to achieve that, the 31-year-old expects Nishikori to make him sweat - literally. In the last three years, the Serb is 10-0 against Nishikori, dropping just three sets out of 25 in the process - it will take a considerable swing in head to head momentum for this match to produce a shock.

The three victors - two individuals and one team - started strong and never faded; none dropped sets, and del Potro's 7-6 opener against Rafael Nadal was the only one in which the eventual winner surrendered more than four games.

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"I always believed I could come back relatively quickly to the level of tennis I was playing", Djokovic said.

"One of the keys. will be how well can I return, how many returns I can get back in play, but also try to have some depth in that return, and how accurately I can serve myself".

Djokovic missed last year's tournament owing to an elbow injury.

The Argentine has also beaten Nadal at this stage of the US Open before - a commanding 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory on his way to the title in 2009.

Still, he retains the No. 1 ranking no matter if del Potro or Djokovic lifts the U.S. Open trophy Sunday.

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