Djokovic, del Potro need no OT to advance to US Open final

Novak Djokovic Roger Federer Rafael Nadal have been my role models

Nadal had had his right knee taped during his gruelling third-round clash against Karen Khachanov but insisted afterwards it was not a big issue and he appeared in good shape for his next two matches.

Nadal's challenge looked doomed even as early as the first set, as he was feeling the injury after just four games, he admitted. "But it was not a tennis match at the end". "Like thousands of other tennis players around the world I'm trying to be the best I can be".

Nadal, the defending U.S Open champion, was trailing 7-6, 6-2 when a knee problem forced him to stop after nearly two hours of playing time.

Nadal said he "hated retiring" but was in "too much pain" to continue the defence of his US Open title.

"All my career everybody say that because of my style, I will have a short career", Nadal, who is three behind Roger Federer in Grand Slam titles, added.

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"It's tough, these moments, but on the other hand I'm going to keep going and I'm going to keep working hard to keep having opportunities".

Djokovic has won his past 13 sets in NY. Devastating for it to happen in a Grand Slam SF. "I lost four matches".

I didn't take any pleasure in watching Nadal go through the motions in that second set - especially in case he did more damage.

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.

The Serb held comfortably and crafted five break points in the second game of the match, converting the fifth. "He's a great guy", said Djokovic who missed the 2017 tournament through injury. "You could imagine very hard for me to say goodbye before the match finish but at some point you have to take a decision".

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He needed his right knee strapped after the seventh game before gallantly fighting off two set points in the 10th game, breaking Del Potro who was serving for the set.

Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, mentioned retirement to the chair umpire midway through the second set, then threw in the towel after dropping the set. They are the first pair to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same year since Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge in 2003.

It took him two hours and 23 minutes - only 22 minutes longer than Nadal kept Del Potro interested, before an emotional withdrawal in the first semi-final.

"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". This is my favourite tournament, my biggest memories on a tennis court came on this court in 2009.

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.

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