Nadal injury sends del Potro to U.S. Open final

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At the conclusion of his third round game at the US Open, Rafael Nadal was reluctant to talk about his knees, insisting that it was not the time for that conversation.

The Spaniard, who beat Del Potro this year in the French Open semi-finals and Wimbledon quarter-finals, has looked nothing short of brilliant but is not about to get ahead of himself as the pair have split their 10 meetings on hard courts.

Del Potro, whose own injury troubles have been well-documented, will therefore get a chance to repeat his 2009 triumph in NY.

In Friday's other semi-final, Djokovic will try to extend the form that has seen him win 24 of his last 26 matches, an impressive run that includes titles at Wimbledon and the US Open tune-up event in Cincinnati.

But del Potro was on fumes by then after winning his own memorable five-setter against Thiem in the fourth round and beating Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.

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Rafael Nadal retired from his U.S. Open semifinal with right knee pain that has dogged him on and off for years, sending Juan Martin del Potro into Sunday's final.

Both players missed the 2017 U.S. Open with injuries, but were on the cusp of returning to the finals.

"He's had lots of injury problems in the past but he's a big-match player".

Djokovic has never lost to Del Potro at a Slam, winning twice at the US Open in 2007 and 2012, Roland Garros in 2011 and an epic five-set semi-final at Wimbledon in 2013.

During the sixth game of the second set, after the chair umpire had made a call that Nadal thought came before the ball landed, he approached the chair and said, "It's OK, I'm going to retire because I'm so hurt on the knee, but you are not good on this one".

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There have been six draws as well, and the most recent encounter was in a friendly back in 2017, which ended in a stalemate. Three players, Thilo Kehrer, Nico Schulz and Kai Havertz, will have their first chance to earn their worldwide debut.

Nishikori has enough about him to make this a competitive affair and we should see plenty of long rallies, but if Djokovic plays to his best then there will only be one victor.

This has been the Serbian's most consistent slam - aside from past year, when he was sidelined by an elbow problem, he has not lost before the semi-finals since 2006 - but he has only won the title twice.

"I personally like him very much, not just as a player but as a person". "I was suffering a lot".

Twelve months ago, a worn out Del Potro was essentially out of gas by the time he faced Nadal, but it was a different story on this occasion as his opponent was not at full fitness.

"The worst moment was in 2015 when I was close to quitting because I couldn't find a way to fix my wrist problems", he said. "Maybe if he wasn't Novak, I might have (a) chance to play [a] little better". Victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday will give him not only his 14th major title but also underline the Serbian is ready to reclaim his mantle as the top dog in the sport. Today at 2-all in the first I felt it again. "I know what is going on with the knee". I lost four matches. "Even when he dropped his ranking and started to, you know, work his way up, but we all knew that he has a capacity and a quality to get to the point where he is at the moment".

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