Del Potro reaches final after Nadal forced to quit

Juan Martin del Potro reached his first Grand Slam final in nine years after Rafael Nadal retired from their US Open semi-final.

Argentine third seed Del Potro was leading 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 when Nadal, the defending champion, was forced to quit because of a knee problem.

Nadal said: “I think it was 2-2 in the first, 15-0, that I felt it. I said to my box immediately that I felt something on the knee. After that, I was just trying to see if in some moment the thing can improve during the match. But no, was not the day.

“I waited as much as I can. But at some point you have to take a decision. It was so difficult for me to keep playing at the same time that way, having too much pain.

“That was not a tennis match at the end. It was just one player playing, the other one staying on the other side of the court. I hate to retire, but to stay one more set out there playing like this will be too much for me.”

Nadal suffered problems with his right knee during his third-round win over Russian Karen Khachanov but insisted it was not a major issue and subsequently won gruelling matches against Nikoloz Basilashvili and Dominic Thiem.

Del Potro led a standing ovation on Arthur Ashe Stadium when Nadal walked gingerly off court.
“It is not the best way to win a match. I love to play against Rafa because he is the biggest fighter in the sport,” Del Potro said.

“I don’t like to see him suffering like today. I am sad for him. I think the key of the match was the first set.”

Del Potro, 29, last competed in a Grand Slam final when he won at Flushing Meadows in 2009.

He contemplated quitting tennis after a series of wrist injuries but recovered to such an extent that he has reached his highest ranking this year.

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