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Del Potro into US Open final as Nadal quits with knee injury

Del Potro into US Open final as Nadal quits with knee injury

"I got depressed for couple of months also", Del Potro told reporters. "I was suffering a lot".

After fearing his career was over following a trio of operations to his injured left wrist, which forced him to miss the best part of two years, the 29-year-old returned and rebuilt his game. "I was in too much pain".

"I saw before the match against Nadal that he's the player that had the most wins against world number ones [without ever topping the rankings himself]". In 2017, Nadal won his first Slams in three years (the French and U.S. Opens), then won his 11th French Open this year. "But because he plays so fast he makes me more alert from the first point because I know I have to be at my best in order to compete with him from the baseline".

Either del Potro or Djokovic will add to their Flushing Meadows trophy haul, and it should be an epic as both players will have plenty in the tank after relatively straightforward semifinal victories.

Del Potro was leading 7-6 (3) 6-2 after two hours of play when Nadal shook his head and said he had to retire, becoming the first man in the half-century professional era to do so during a semifinal or final at the US Open.

Nadal, bidding for a fourth title in NY and 18th major, had spent the best part of 16 hours getting to the semi-finals. "I was a kid then and now I'm much older".

"I won my only Grand Slam here", del Potro said.

Djokovic will face Del Potro on Sunday in the final at Flushing Meadows after dispatching Kei Nishikori in straight sets as he bids to win his second slam of the year.

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This has been the Serbian's most consistent slam - aside from a year ago, 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. Nadal retired from the match.

In 2010 he said an early goodbye in Australia at the hands of Andy Murray because of his right knee, while tendinitis again kept him from the London 2012 Olympic Games and he did not return until 2013.

For del Potro, it was an odd way to return to an important summit.

"I am sad for him but I'm also happy to do my best". But I know what's expecting me. The No. 3 seed has lost to Nadal in the semifinals in three of the last four Grand Slam tournaments.

"We have never played in the final of a Grand Slam and he's playing the tennis of his life, without a doubt, in the last 15 months", said the Serb.

"I just feel like, not only is my future bright, even though I'm not a spring chicken, but I still have a very, very bright future".

Djokovic is into his eighth final in NY where he was champion in 2011 and 2015. At 29 and back to near his best, the Argentinian attracts admiration throughout the game for the way he has fought back from almost quitting the sport in 2015 to a career-best No 3 world ranking, and now is on his favourite stage again.

Nadal would figure to have a tougher time in his fourth meeting with del Potro in the last of five Grand Slam tournaments.