Wrist and reward: Del Potro back amongst elite

Wrist and reward: Del Potro back amongst elite

But his 10 career wins over number one-ranked players are the most by any player never to hold the number one ranking - and further proof, Djokovic said, that Del Potro is among the elite.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal retired from his U.S. Open semifinal because of a painful right knee after dropping the opening two sets, putting Juan Martin del Potro back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since he won the 2009 title at Flushing Meadows.

"I personally like him very much, not just as a player but as a person", said Djokovic of Del Potro. "Easier said than done - you have to execute the shots against Kei Nishikori, who is one of the quicker movers on the tour".

Still, he retains the No. 1 ranking no matter if Del Potro or the Novak Djokovic-Kei Nishikori semifinal victor lifts the U.S. Open trophy Sunday.

He has a 14-2 record against Nishikori, whose last victory over the Serb came in the 2014 US Open semi-finals before he lost in the showpiece match to Croatian Marin Cilic, who the Japanese overcame in five sets to reach this year's last four.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I had some issues during the tournament. "I don't like to see him suffering on court today".

"I am sad for him but I'm also happy to do my best".

Under slate-grey skies on a cooler day in NY, the intensity level was predictably high early on as the competitors traded breaks in the opening two games.

The Spaniard had tape applied here after seven games only to take it off two games later.




The Spaniard was simply unable to recover and had his knee attended to again in the second set as Del Potro marched through to take it 6-2 with minimal trouble. At one juncture, he approached the chair umpire to complain about a late call from a line judge and mentioned in passing that he was going to have to quit.

The world number one had headed into the tie after a marathon quarter-final tie against Dominic Thiem, who pushed the Spaniard to the limits on a humid night in NY.

Despite that record, Del Potro is under no illusions regarding the favourite for their tie.

Despite again appearing to struggle with the humid conditions, Djokovic battled past Roger Federer's conqueror John Millman in straight sets on Wednesday to continue his bid for a third US Open title.

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. But the good thing is I know how I have to work to be better as soon as possible because we have a lot of experience on that.

Williams is set to play in her ninth U.S. Open final and 31st at all Grand Slam tournaments a year after she missed the tournament because she gave birth to her daughter, Olympia.

After almost two weeks of heat in the 90s, it cooled to the 70s, although the humidity was still at about 70 percent.

Nadal's challenge looked doomed even as early as the first set, feeling the injury after just four games, he admitted. Del Potro's boys will make sure of that.

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