US Open 2018 results: Juan Martin del Potro advances to finals after Rafael Nadal retires
11 September, 2018, 05:13
It would be his third US Open title and would bring his total grand slam haul up to 14, a sweet achievement after suffering an elbow injury a year ago that forced him to take about six months off.
All that mattered, really, was that Djokovic managed to do what Roger Federer could not two nights earlier: beat 55th-ranked John Millman at the US Open. But if there is one player who deserves a slightly less strenuous path to a Grand Slam final, it is del Potro. Del Potro advanced when Rafael Nadal retired after the second set with a knee injury.
Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, reacts after Rafael Nadal, of Spain, retired from a match during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in NY.
While we're on a stat kick, Djokovic will look to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season for the third time.
But del Potro might have an ace up his sleeve - a group of 14 mates who have come to NY from his home town of Tandil, Argentina.
"I was returning well", Djokovic said after the game.
"Serve. Return. Groundstrokes. He was playing aggressive".
Loss of motivation after winning all there was to win, personal problems away from the court and an elbow injury that required surgery were all partly to blame for the decline of the then world No 1, who lost the spot to Andy Murray in November 2016 and has not had it back since.
Remarkably, it is the eighth US Open final the Serb has reached, and he could hardly look any more impressive in doing so as he continued his fine form in NY.
"[Today] at 2-all in first set, I told my box I felt something in my knee". "But I think that is completely in the past, and now I'm having a good present, looking forward for the future". You could imagine very hard for me to say good-bye before the match finish.
"It means the world to me obviously", he added.
Nadal would figure to have a tougher time in his fourth meeting with del Potro in the last five Grand Slam tournaments.
Del Potro said: "Of course it's not the best way to win a match".
"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. "I'm going to keep going", he said. He was also made to work hard for his Round of 16 win over Karen Khachanov that came in four sets on a similarly energy-sapping evening in the city. "I got depressed for couple of months also".
He has the chance to equal Pete Sampras' tally of 14 slam titles but is wary of Del Potro despite his excellent record against the Argentinian.
Here's the thing about those boys from Juan Martin del Potro's hometown of Tandil, Argentina - you know the ones - who every night fill a different suite, drink beer, provide laughs and make Arthur Ashe Stadium sound like a soccer pitch: The thing about those boys is it's possible we've been underestimating their value. "I know what is going on with the knee". His saving grace in both matches was that he was still able to break four, whilst dropping serve just once against Millman and not at all against Nishikori.
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