Nadal's knees are his great rival

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

It would be his third US Open title and would bring his total grand slam haul up to 14, a sweet achievement after suffering an elbow injury past year that forced him to take about six months off.

When Rafael Nadal finally finished a almost five-hour climb into the U.S. Open semi-finals, he thought backward as much as ahead.

The world number one had been targeting a fourth US Open title, but instead it's Del Potro who is eyeing his second after winning the title back in 2009.

The Argentinian looked set to be a major rival to the big four when he won the US Open title in 2009 aged just 20, beating Nadal in the semi-finals and Roger Federer in the final.

All four players have reached the U.S. Open final - only Nishikori hasn't won it.

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

It was Nadal's second retirement from a Slam this year - both on hard courts - after Australia.

The 31-year-old Serb, clearly enjoying the fruits of his labour, delivered a comprehensive performance against Nishikori as he served impeccably, was solid with his returns and dominated from the back of the court.

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.

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Remarkably, it is the eighth US Open final the Serb has reached, and he could hardly look any more impressive in doing so as he continued his fine form in NY.

"I thought in the important moments I came up with some good second serves, some good first serves. I think that's why people love him".

Alec Baldwin of "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" was seen cheering during the men's semifinals, along with other celebrities such as actor Chevy Chase (with his original "Caddyshack" hat) and four-time Grand Slam victor Manolo Santana.

'Well, it will be a hard match because we are close friends, ' he said after Nadal retired at two sets to love down in their semi-final. Yeah, I mean, I think I have two finals won and five losses.

"Especially the top players, they always try to set their own form, so to say, around the Grand Slams because that's where they want to play their best".

That sense of possibility was lost to Del Potro for years as he sought in vain for a solution to painful wrist injuries. You never know what could happen in the future.

"I didn't expect to get this kind of emotions playing tennis again". But, you know, he's got two days now to recover, so he's going to be fresh. "Even before I went through the whole process of surgery, post-surgery recovery, I was still feeling for players that went through injuries", Djokovic said. "I know what is going on with the knee". Mike Bryan, along with partner Jack Sock, won his record 18th doubles Grand Slam title.

"I think I was just exhausted from last couple matches". But Nadal was so distraught after he pulled out of the match that he had difficulty saying he was pleased to see del Potro advance.

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