Rafael Nadal forced to retire injured as Juan Martin Del Potro reaches US Open final
Juan Martin Del Potro v Rafael Nadal 7-6 6-2 R

Rafael Nadal forced to retire injured as Juan Martin Del Potro reaches US Open final

08/09/2018

A distraught Rafael Nadal was forced to retire through injury after trailing 7-6 6-2 as Juan Martin Del Potro progressed through to the US Open final where he will face Novak Djokovic.

Del Potro took the opening set after a brutal opening set went all the way to a breaker at Flushing Meadows, the Argentine taking it 7-3 with a series of stunning groundstrokes.

The top seed and three-time champion Nadal was already struggling with his right knee and had to have it taped up in the opening set - a sign of things to come.

The Spaniard was simply unable to recover and had his knee attended to again in the second set as Del Potro marched through to take it 6-2 with minimal trouble.

Nadal, who seemingly was not fit following his epic battle against Dominic Thiem, could not compete towards the end of the second set and was forced to eventually retire at its conclusion.

As he shook hands with the umpire and a typically gracious and sensitive Del Potro, Nadal struggled to contain his emotions.

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.

"I love to play against Rafa because he’s the biggest fighter in this sport," Del Potro said on court after the match.

" It’s not the best way to win a match. I’m sad for him."

Having fought through his own injury-ravaged years, Del Potro understood his opponent's pain and gave him a warm embrace before he left the court.

A hugely popular player, the 29-year-old will now take on sixth seed Djokovic after the Serb surged past Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2.

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