Nadal vs del Potro, Djokovic vs Nishikori in US Open semis

Nadal vs del Potro, Djokovic vs Nishikori in US Open semis

Nadal vs del Potro, Djokovic vs Nishikori in US Open semis

"You could imagine it was very hard for me to say goodbye before the match finishes", said Nadal, who added that he had been dealing with his knee woes since the early rounds.

"I hate to retire, but, to stay one more set out there playing like this, it would be too much for me", Nadal said.

He rose after a quick chat, shook the chair umpire's hand and then told del Potro. While an nearly five hour quarter-final victory over Dominic Thiem, it would be fair to state concerns over the winning player in their subsequent match, but the quirks of the US Open schedule mean that the Spaniard will have had nearly 72 hours to recover from these exertions - virtually unheard of recovery time in the latter stages of professional tennis tournaments.

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 still here. I still here because I love what I am doing", said Nadal.

He will play the victor of last night's second semifinal between No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 21 Kei Nishikori.

While we're on a stat kick, Djokovic will look to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season for the third time. As Nadal himself noted during a news conference that closed as he began to choke up, this was the second of those defeats that involved him quitting during a Grand Slam match because of an injury; the other was in the fifth set of his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic. I know how much frustration there can be when you can't do the thing that you want to do.

But it was great to see him talking about his future afterwards.

"It means a lot to me", del Potro said.

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The 32 year-old Spaniard retired on Friday night when tailing the towering Argentinian 6-7, 2-6, with a recurrence of knee trouble that made it impossible to continue.

"I know what I have".

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.

"Yeah, for sure it's going to give me good confidence", Nishikori said, "even though I (don't) remember". "The problem is this time was something little bit more aggressive because was in one movement".

"I am playing the right way and enjoying things". A lot of people in this room, including me, didn't think I would be at this level at this age.

'All my career everybody say that because of my style, I will have a short career.

Del Potro, who has returned to the pinnacle of the sport after recovering from two wrist surgeries in 2010, had lost to Nadal the last three times the players had met in grand slams and had lost 11 times from 16 meetings against the Spaniard.

"I didn't expect to get into another Grand Slam final", del Potro said. "This is my favourite tournament, my biggest memories on a tennis court came on this court in 2009". In the final when I beat Rafa and then Roger I was a kid then, but now I am much older'.

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