On Sunday, the powerful Argentine with the massive forehand that zips along at more than 100 miles per hour will face two-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic, who defeated Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the second semifinal Friday night.
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 against Novak Djokovic.
A tired and wounded world number one Rafael Nadal retired from his U.S. Open semi-final while trailing Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 (3) 6-2 on Friday, sending the Argentine back to the Flushing Meadows final for the first time since his 2009 triumph.
While Djokovic can pull level with Pete Sampras on 14 majors - and move to within three of Rafael Nadal and six back from Roger Federer - Del Potro's career at the Slams has been torpedoed by a series of wrist injuries.
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The 31-year-old, who was beaten by Nishikori at Flushing Meadows in 2014, sealed victory on his second match point to improve his head-to-head record against the Japanese to 15 wins from 17 meetings.
Nishikori was content to stay at the baseline in the first set, and Djokovic dominated, breaking in the second game and often forcing Nishikori to overhit while on the run.
The key to his semi-final, del Potro said, was the first set, which dragged on for more than an hour. Djokovic, another player whose recent injury cost him time at the top of the tennis pyramid, won Wimbledon this year and is rounding into his elite form again. As everybody knows, I had an issue, it was in the second or third match. "I love to play against Rafa because he's the biggest fighter in this sport and I don't like to see him suffering", said 29-year-old Del Potro who will be playing in his second Slam final.
"These moments are tough but I have to keep going and working hard to get more opportunities".
"The problem is this time it was something a little bit more aggressive because it was in one movement".
"This year have been a fantastic year until this moment", said Nadal.
"That's frustrating. Can't tell you another thing".
Three days after his epic five-set victory over Dominic Thiem, the world No. 1's title defense came to a heartbreaking end as he called a halt to his contest while trailing Del Potro 7-6 [7-3] 6-2. In a post-match news conference Friday, he was as frustrated as he was glum to have lost the chance to play for his 18th career major title. I am having a lot of success. "I know what is going on with the knee". I am enjoying being on court. He contemplated retiring in 2015, during a two-year stretch where he played just two tournaments.
"All my career everybody say that because of my style, I will have a short career".
"I waited as much as I can", he said.