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Nadal: Knee pain meant I had to retire in semi-final

Nadal: Knee pain meant I had to retire in semi-final

World number one Rafael Nadal says he "will keep fighting and working hard" after he was forced to retire from his US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro because of a knee injury.

Holding a 14-2 win record against the Japanese, Djokovic was never in threat of an upset by the current World No. 21 as he raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

Novak Djokovic will face Juan Martin del Potro for the U.S. Open title after the Serb beat Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2 in their semi-final on Friday.

High on confidence after his Wimbledon triumph in July, the Serbian will undoubtedly start as the favourite against Del Potro on Sunday. I have tremendous respect for him as a person and a player.

Nishikori made history in reaching the 2014 US Open final, but said he could hardly bring himself to watch last year's tournament as he battled a wrist injury that brought his 2017 season to a premature close.

But, yes, he's a player that went through lot of issues during his career, like me too.

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

"Of course, it's not the best way to win a match", said del Potro, who hugged Nadal when it was over. He suffered his 14th straight loss against the Serbian, a two-time U.S. Open victor who now boasts a 15-2 record against the Japanese. "It was not a tennis match at the end".

"I'm really happy to be in the semis again".

The world number one had spent more almost 16 hours on court in reaching the last four, averaging more than four hours a match during the last three rounds, and that took its toll here.

"I love to play against Rafa because he's the biggest fighter in this sport", Del Potro said on court after the match. "So I'm sad for him".




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.

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

The Spaniard called a medical timeout after three games of the second set to have the right knee rebandaged.

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. Del Potro was playing so well though and there was no way back for Nadal.

"It means a lot to me. Two of them I had to retire". I am enjoying on court.

"I waited as much as I can", he said.

Djokovic's record compares with one grand slam for del Potro - the US Open in 2009.

With a victory, he would tie Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slam titles.

Novak Djokovic put aside all of it, from his opponent's unheard-of, middle-of-a-set chance to change out of sweat-soaked clothes and shoes, to consecutive time violations because he let the serve clock expire, to the 16 break points he wasted.

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.

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