Nadal injury sends del Potro to U.S. Open final

Nadal Del Potro Cilic US Open

Nadal, who was bidding to win his 18th Grand Slam title, faced similar issues during his third-round match against Russia's Karen Khachanov.

Nadal's stamina and famous fitness have been put to the test on the sweltering Flushing Meadows hardcourts as he has logged almost 16 hours through five matches.

Rafael Nadal talks with a trainer shortly before retiring before the third set of his U.S. Open semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro.

The US Open men's semi-finals take place tonight in NY, and returning to preview the two matches, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston.

The three-time champion retired at the end of the second set with Del Potro leading 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 on Arthur Ashe.

"When you win or when you lose like this", Nadal said, "you come back home with the feeling that you did all the things that you can do".

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.

"It was hard for me to keep playing".

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory following his men's singles semi-final match against Kei Nishikori of Japan on Day Twelve of the 2018 U.S Open on September 7, 2018 in New York City.

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"I'm having two great years", added Nadal, who was trying to complete a French Open-US Open double for the second straight season. Lot of people in this room, including myself, would never have thought that at the age of 32 I will be here fighting for titles, fighting for the first positions of the rankings.

Del Potro will go on to face the victor of Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori, who play Friday night.

'It means a lot to me, I didn't expect to get into another slam final especially here at my favourite tournament.

After edging a 69-minute set, Del Potro applied pressure early in the second, thundering winners off both wings to get to 15-40 in game two.

Nadal, who had never before retired from a U.S. Open match, showed signs of distress nearly from the start as he limped noticeably after a grueling 69-minute opening set. He even barely took any time between points while serving - and he's known as one of the slowest guys on tour.

"He's a big match player and I'm sure the final will be a thrilling match".

But six months later he was sidelined by right wrist problems and, having fought back to the top again, then missed the better part of two years when an injury to his left wrist required three operations.

Djokovic will face 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday's final. Against Djokovic, del Potro is 4-14 in his career, including 0-3 in majors.

"I had my biggest memories on this court in 2009 when I beat Rafa and Roger (Federer, in the final)".

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