U.S. Open: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori, advances to championship

US Open 2018 results: Juan Martin del Potro advances to finals after Rafael Nadal retires

US Open 2018 results: Juan Martin del Potro advances to finals after Rafael Nadal retires

Even after Nadal got some taping on his knee, he made the third seed work hard for his points. Enough, really, of tennis.

At the conclusion of his third round game at the US Open, Rafael Nadal was reluctant to talk about his knees, insisting that it was not the time for that conversation.

"A group of about a dozen of del Potro's friends from Argentina would salute important points won by their guy, often breaking into choruses of "'Ole, ole, ole, ole, del Po, del Po!"

Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, reacts after Rafael Nadal, of Spain, retired from a match during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in NY.

He will play Novak Djokovic, who beat Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the other semi-final.

"I was close to quit this sport because I couldn't find a way to fix my wrist problems", he said.

"It means the world to me obviously", he added. So I don't know what can happen in a couple of days or in a couple of weeks.

"He's a gentle giant", said Djokovic of his giant Argentine opponent. But signs were not good as Nadal looked in distress about the knee.

"Everything", he added with a smile, "is nearly flawless". When I played Roger nine years ago, he was the favourite to win, as well. He had 22 winners, but more than double the number of unforced errors - 51.

Typhoon Jebi in Photos
Japanese media tallied at least nine deaths, and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said almost 300 people were injured. Japan usually suffers the attacks of typhoons in summer, but this year has been particularly hard .

When he returned, he had to rebuild his backhand, first by relying exclusively on a slice, and only recently able to strike meaningful two-handed shots with confidence. "A big challenge because I've been fighting with many, many problems to get to this moment", he said. The Spaniard was playing today against Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open semifinals and early he was playing well.

Djokovic can relate to the climb back from a body breakdown. It was a familiar pain, one that he's dealt with off-and-on for years. Djokovic-Delpotro have previously met two times at the US Open in 2007 and 2012 with the Serb emerging victorious on both occasions. Nadal has 17, including three at the U.S. Open, and Djokovic could tie Pete Sampras for third all-time with 14 if he wins his third at Flushing Meadows.

Few would have predicted such a remarkable turnaround for Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open, underwent surgery on his right elbow and fell at the first hurdle in Indian Wells and Miami on his return.

"I tried to give 100 percent but he was playing very solid". It was so hard for me to keep playing, I was in too much pain.

In front of him on Sunday is a man who has beaten him 14 times in 18 contests and in all four of their slam matches. Djokovic regained the physical strength and confidence necessary to play at tennis's top level and won Wimbledon last month, ousting Kevin Anderson in the final.

"I hate to retire", said Nadal who has endured a series of knee injuries throughout his career. I think people can relate to that and appreciate what he brings to the tennis.

He has dropped serve just five times - three of those coming in the first two rounds.

The third seed will now await the victor of the second semi-final between Japan's Kei Nishikori and Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, hit tennis ball to fans following a match against Rafael Nadal, of Spain, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in NY.

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