Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

U.S. Open: Novak Djokovic sets up del Potro final in NY

U.S. Open: Novak Djokovic sets up del Potro final in NY

An elbow injury in 2003 prevented his expected French Open debut that year and a stress fracture in one ankle kept him out of Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2004.

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.

He also enjoys an impressive head-to-head record over the 29-year-old Del Potro, winning 14 of their 18 matches.

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his men´s singles semi-final match against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina on Day Twelve of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2018.

All four players are past finalists at Flushing Meadows, the first time that's happened at the U.S. Open since 2011. Del Potro, like Wawrinka, can become a risky opponent if he builds up some momentum and can draw the match into becoming a slug-fest from the baseline.

"I don't know how it looked, but it felt really good", said Djokovic, who reached his record-tying eighth final in NY as he aims for a third US Open championship and 14th major title.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens could not repeat her dream performance from past year, but she gave it her all.

"He was playing very solid everything: serve, return, groundstrokes", Nishikori said. In fact, it seemed like long overdue given how well he has played this season, this Slam and even in the first two sets of this match.

Devastated Rafael Nadal vowed the knee injury that forced him out of the US Open semi-finals on Friday won't stop him chasing more Grand Slam glory. "But I think that is completely in the past, and now I'm having a good present, looking forward for the future".

This has been the Serbian's most consistent slam - aside from past year, when he was sidelined by an elbow problem, he has not lost before the semi-finals since 2006 - but he has only won the title twice.

"I hate to retire", said Nadal who has endured a series of knee injuries throughout his career. But yes, he is a player who went through a lot of issues during his career, like me, too. He barely took any time between points while serving - and he's known as one of the slowest guys on tour.

Nadal had won seven of nine against del Potro.

"I didn't know", he said, "if I will be a tennis player again or not".

Thiem fought hard to win the fourth set. I didn't get the chance to feel better with myself, to do this again.

As well as going level with Sampras on Sunday, a win for Djokovic would put him just three majors behind Nadal and six back from Federer who is six years older.

Unfortunately for Nishikori, Djokovic has been the victor in all 13 meetings since that match and has generally dominated this rivalry, so the Japanese player knows he is up against it here.

As everybody knows, this is my favorite tournament since I'm kid. 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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