In Semi-final defeat, Nadal still dominates talk

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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 07: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball during his men’s singles semi-final match against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina on Day Twelve of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Julian Finney/Getty Images/AFP

Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro was the first into the finals yet Rafael Nadal dominated attention on account of his tortuous path to the last four.

The world number one player bowed out to injury in the second set as the match ended 7/6 (3): 6/2 in just over two hours.

Novak Djokovic followed in a surprising straight set victory over Kei Nishikori, 6/3; 6/4; 6/2 that lasted two hours and 23 minutes.

Nadal’s compatriot David Ferrer retired in the second set of first round, while he had straight sets victory over Vasek Pospisil in the second dropping only nine games.

The battles started with a 5/7; 7/5; 7/; 7/6 in third round match against Karen Khachanov and another four-set match with Nikoloz Basilashvili in the fourth round.

In the fourth round he lost the first set 0-6 to Dominic Thiem, won the second and third (6/4; 7/5), lost the fourth (6/7) before winning the fifth 7/6, in a match over four hours.

Del Potro lost only three games to Donald Young in the first match, 10 to Denis Kudla in the second, 11 to Fernando Verdasco in the third and just eight in the fourth against Borna Coric.

The stiffest battle he faced was in his 6/7; 6/3; 7/6; 6/2 victory over John Isner. Having laboured for over 15 hours in the preceding rounds, Nadal faced a relatively fresh Del Potro in the semi-finals.

Although he lost his serve to fall behind 4-5 in the first set, Nadal saved two set points to break for five games apiece.

He lost the ensuing tie break seven points to three. From then on, it was downhill, as he retired after losing the second set 6-2.

Kei Nishikori also raced through the first three rounds in straight set victories over Martin Marterer, Gael Monfils and Diego Schwartzman to whom he conceded a 6/7 third set but defeated Peter Kohlschreiber 6/3; 6/2;/7/5.

His semi-final opponent, Djokovic had also breezed through the tournament.

The Serbian played only two sets against Marton Fucsovics in the first round, lost a set to Tennys Sandgren before winning against the next three, conceded total games in three sets with Richard Gasquet and ran over Sousa 6/3; 6/4; 6/3 in the fourth round, and defeated John Millman 6/3; 6/4; 6/4 in the quarter-finals.

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