Djokovic: Del Potro has a big game

Tyler Owen
September 11, 2018

It was the latest setback to his motivation already dealt bodyblows by an elbow injury which forced him to skip last year's US Open and contributed to a last-16 exit at January's Australian Open.

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.

Nadal, the defending U.S Open champion, was trailing 7-6, 6-2 when a knee problem forced him to stop after nearly two hours of playing time.

All four players have reached the U.S. Open final - only Nishikori hasn't won it. The 19th edition of the Djokovic-Del Potro rivalry offers to be a fascinating contest.

While his conversion rate in those finals has left something to be desired - winning just two of the seven he's played thus far - he can become just the seventh man to win three or more US Open titles should he defeat 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday. Nadal bested the Argentine in their meeting past year.

"One of the keys of the match will be [my] return, how well I can 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".

The Japanese player's spirit was finally broken and his serve followed, with Djokovic claiming his fourth break with a fist-pumping celebration before serving for the match.

Defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal and twice victor Novak Djokovic are one victory away from renewing their rivalry in the final with both expected to get through their semis on Friday.

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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". Then I think it was a little bit better. Yes, it is bitterly disappointing but he has added another Grand Slam title in 2018 and he is world number one. You could imagine it was very hard for me to say goodbye before the match finish. Yeah, I mean, I think I have two finals won and five losses.

A downbeat Nadal, who had spent almost 16 hours on court in battling through to the last four, said: "I had some issues during the tournament". I know what I have.

"I've been fighting with many, many problems to get [to] this moment", del Potro said.

Mike Bryan won his record-setting 18th Grand Slam doubles title and his second straight with Jack Sock, beating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3, 6-1.

"I know what I have". Young, Verdasco, Coric and Nadal took every break point they created against the Argentine.

"He's a gentle giant", the 31-year-old Serb said of the 6ft 6in (1.98m) Del Potro affectionately dubbed the "Tower of Tandil" after his home town. I have tremendous respect for him as a person and a player.

Djokovic went into cruise control in the third set, winning four consecutive games from 2-2 to win the match and book his spot in the final.

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