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US Open - Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin del Potro Preview & Prediction

US Open - Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin del Potro Preview & Prediction

Nadal, 32, had spent a total of 15 hours and 54 minutes on court - three hours and 38 minutes more than Del Potro - going into the match, and it showed.

And he revealed afterwards that he had felt a sharp pain in his knee as early as the fifth game.

Over and out: Rafael Nadal, of Spain, waves to fans after retiring from the match. "But it was not a tennis match at the end".

Del Potro now awaits the result of Novac Djokovic's match against Kei Nishikori to find out his opponent in the final, following the 7-6 (3), 6-2 injury win.

After having his right knee taped, Nadal threw in a sloppy game to be broken again at 4-4, giving Del Potro the chance to serve out the opener.

Only Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras have been to the NY decider as often as the remarkable Serb, who lost on his last visit two years ago, to Stan Wawrinka, and has won twice, against Roger Federer in 2015 and Nadal in 2011, the best season of his career.

Del Potro, a man far too familiar with his body letting him down, is probably the last person who would have wanted to progress in such a manner but surely no player deserves a kind break more. "You could imagine very hard for me to say good-bye before the match finish".

After the third game of the second set, he had a medical timeout so the trainer could massage his right leg and once again apply tape.

Novak Djokovic served impeccably and used his typical brand of court-covering defense to reach his record-tying eighth US Open final by beating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Friday night.

"I love to play against Rafa because he is the biggest fighter in the sport", Del Potro said.

While an nearly five hour quarter-final victory over Dominic Thiem, it would be fair to state concerns over the winning player in their subsequent match, but the quirks of the US Open schedule mean that the Spaniard will have had nearly 72 hours to recover from these exertions - virtually unheard of recovery time in the latter stages of professional tennis tournaments.

Nadal has been forced out of tournaments due to left and right knee problems over the last decade, withdrawing before 2009 Wimbledon and the 2012 Olympics and during the 2010 Australian Open.

"I feel that this tournament, Juan Martin is hitting a little bit bigger off his backhand".

Those pals helped del Potro get through the toughest times, as he would need to repeatedly return to have surgery.

While Djokovic has been able to routinely beat Nishikori in their previous meetings, Nadal and Del Potro have only met on four occasions since 2013.

Djokovic's most recent win over him was in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this summer, on his way to winning the title.

Should he pick up the title at the expense of Del Potro, he would close the gap on Nadal in the all-time list to just three Slams - the same gap between the Spaniard and Roger Federer.


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