US Open Day 12 Men's Tips: Nadal generously priced against Del Potro
US Open Day 12 Men's Tips: Nadal generously priced against Del Potro
Marin Cilic has tipped Rafael Nadal to beat Juan Martin del Potro
08 September, 2018, 08:59
When Rafael Nadal finally finished a almost five-hour climb into the U.S. Open semifinals, he thought backward as much as ahead.
"Of course, it's not the best way to win a match", said del Potro, who hugged Nadal when it was over. "It was not a tennis match at the end".
"I hate retiring but to stay one more set out there playing like that is too much for me", said Nadal.
Del Potro, who has also had his career disrupted by injuries, was not happy to get the victory the way he did but the big-hitting Argentine will now get a chance to raise a Grand Slam trophy nine years after his first.
"It's not the best way to win a match", said Del Potro, who also beat Nadal at the same stage of the 2009 U.S. Open to reach what had been his one and only Grand Slam final.
He should have won the first set more easily, as he served for the first set at 5-4 and blew two set points with unforced errors.
An eighth final is within reach and to achieve that, the 31-year-old expects Nishikori to make him sweat - literally. He has proven in the past that he can match Nadal on hard courts and assuming he can get his forehand firing, he can nick this one in four sets.
The Spaniard called a medical timeout after three games of the second set to have the right knee rebandaged.
With this in mind, it's certainly hard to make a case for Nishikori as an underdog tonight, and I want to move on to the other match-up, the first quarter-final, between top seed Rafa Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro.
Djokovic looked well in command taking the first set before they then settled down to a string of close rallies until he broke again in the fifth game of the second, serving out the frame.
"He's a big match player and I'm sure the final will be a thrilling match".
Nadal, who had never before retired from a U.S. Open match, showed signs of distress nearly from the start as he limped noticeably after a grueling 69-minute opening set.
The main issue for Nishikori in these recent head to head meetings has been on serve, with him winning a mere 54.8% of service points against Djokovic in the last three years, which converts to a 64.0% service hold percentage, and such numbers aptly illustrate why he's had such difficulties against the former world number one in the last few years.
"It means a lot to me".
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.
It's the 10th time del Potro has beaten the No. 1 player, so this isn't new ground for him. This is my favourite tournament, my biggest memories on a tennis court came on this court in 2009.
Djokovic and Del Potro have faced each other 18 times before with the Serb leading the head-to-head 14-4.
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So we do the work now, and this is how it is - it is normal that you are not quite at 100 percent in the games". He's very mature for his age, his feet are firmly on the ground and he can be as good as he wants to be".
Nadal beat del Potro last year in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows, and again this year in the semifinals of the French Open. He hit 19 winners in the fourth set-which was an 81-minute mini-classic all by itself-and won it in a tiebreaker.
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He has now won seven US Open quarterfinals in a row when he has made it that far; his only loss in that round came back in 2006. And when quizzed on what he was thinking after being bageled in the opening set, Nadal said: "Wake up, that's all".
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