Del Potro reaches final after Nadal forced to quit

Rafael Nadal

Nishikori, who had failed to reach another major final after his fine run in NY four years ago, came through a gruelling five-set encounter against Marin Cilic to reach the last four, and was run ragged by the Serb in the opening set. Wimbledon champion Djokovic, playing in his 11th US Open semi-final, claimed a 15th win in 17 clashes against Nishikori.

The match started with back-to-back breaks of serves and after six good holds it was del Potro who scored another break at 4-4 to serve for the set in the following game.

The Spaniard had tape applied here after seven games only to take it off two games later. Earlier in the second set, he told the chair umpire he was going to have to retire due to being "in so much pain".

"You could imagine very hard for me to say goodbye before the match finish".

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

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. That includes a four-set victory in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, where Djokovic burst out of his malaise to win make his first title in more than a year his 13th Grand Slam crown. "I lost four matches".

'It means a lot to me. I don't like to see him suffering on court like today. For him will be huge if he's able to win again a Grand Slam'.

It took Nishikori more than a quarter of an hour to get on the board on Friday, but, on a night when injury was the talking point, he pulled up dramatically mid-point in the ninth game, grabbing at his right leg, before holding to keep the set alive at 3-5.

"This year have been a fantastic year until this moment", said Nadal, who counts the French Open among his five titles this year. I know how much frustration there can be when you can't do the thing that you want to do.

Nadal's all out, take-no-prisoners attacking style has seen his body absorb more punishment on the court than perhaps any other player, leaving many to wonder just how long the 32-year-old can continue to pound away.

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.

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.

"I had my biggest memories on this court in 2009 when I beat Rafa and Roger (Federer, in the final)". He gave what he had but Djokovic was pulling away at the end, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. "I was a kid then and now I'm much older".

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