Rafael Nadal retires in US Open semi-final with knee injury

Nadal Del Potro Cilic US Open

Nadal Del Potro Cilic US Open

Nadal suffered a recurrence of his persistent knee injuries during a gruelling third round victory against Karen Khachanov and the problem became worse during the first set on Friday.

Coming into this semi-final, he had already spent nearly 16 hours on court.

The No. 1-seeded Nadal has a history of tendinitis in his knees and he said he felt a problem in the right one early in the first set.

Where is Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin del Potro taking place?

"It's not a tennis match when one is playing and the other is at the side of the court".

"I hate retiring but to stay one more set out there playing like that is too much for me", said Nadal.

Del Potro was leading 7-6 (3), 6-2 after two hours of play Friday when Nadal shook his head and said he had to stop. "I said to my box immediately that I felt something on the knee". In 2017, Nadal won his first Slams in three years (the French and U.S. Opens), then won his 11th French Open this year.

Arthur Ashe Stadium had not long emptied, stunned by the retirement of Nadal after two sets, when Djokovic put Nishikori under immediate pressure in the second semi-final.

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Nadal would figure to have a tougher time in his fourth meeting with del Potro in the last five Grand Slam tournaments. Lot of people in this room, including myself, never will think that at the age of 32 I will be here fighting for titles, fighting for the first positions of the rankings.

After the third game of the second set, he had a medical timeout so the trainer could massage his right leg and once again apply tape.

Djokovic missed last year's tournament owing to an elbow injury.

The Argentine has also beaten Nadal at this stage of the US Open before - a commanding 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory on his way to the title in 2009.

Nadal came through an enthralling five-set quarter final with Dominic Thiem in which he lost the first set 0-6 before rallying to clinch the match on a tie-break in the deciding set. He even barely took any time between points while serving - and he's known as one of the slowest guys on tour. "I love to play with Rafa because he's the biggest fighter in this sport".

One of the greatest players of all time, the one chink in the Spaniard's armour has always been his knees with injuries plaguing him throughout his career.

Del Potro returns to the final: Nine years after he shocked the tennis world by taking out Roger Federer in the 2009 final, del Potro is back in the Sunday showcase.

Nadal, who reached the last four in NY on the back of brilliant shot-making and incredible movement, looked out of sorts early against Del Potro and struggled to cover the court with his usual tenacity. "I had my biggest memories on the tennis court playing on this court ... but I was a kid".

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