No sweat! Djokovic admits 2018 US Open toughest mission
08 September, 2018, 08:55
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.
"I think it was two-all in the first, 15-love, something like this in the first set, that I felt (something)", said Nadal.
Juan Martin del Potro has praised Rafael Nadal for the way he fought in their semi-final despite playing with a hampering knee injury. "It 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 said to my box immediately that I felt something on the knee", Nadal said. In 2017, Nadal won his first Slams in three years (the French and U.S. Opens), then won his 11th French Open this year. But at the same time I have to keep going and working hard to get more opportunities.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory following his men's singles semi-final match against Kei Nishikori of Japan on Day Twelve of the 2018 U.S Open on September 7, 2018 in New York City. Lot of people in this room, including myself, would never have thought that at the age of 32 I will be here fighting for titles, fighting for the first positions of the rankings.
Grimacing with every sudden move, the 17-time Grand Slam victor called for the trainer during the changeover on serve at 2-1 in the second.
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, celebrates after defeating Kei Nishikori, of Japan, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in NY.
Djokovic will face 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday's final.
In true Nadal style, the world No.1 played the remainder of the second set out of respect for his opponent before he called it quits.
Nishikori began the third set with a confident hold of serve but the 28-year-old made four unforced errors in his next service game to set Djokovic on the road to victory.
Djokovic missed last year's tournament owing to an elbow injury.
It took Nishikori more than a quarter of an hour to get on the board on Friday, but, on a night when injury was the talking point, he pulled up dramatically mid-point in the ninth game, grabbing at his right leg, before holding to keep the set alive at 3-5.
"He's a big match player and I'm sure the final will be a thrilling match".
He needed his right knee strapped after the seventh game before gallantly fighting off two set points in the 10th game, breaking Del Potro who was serving for the set.
"I had my biggest memories on this court in 2009 when I beat Rafa and Roger (Federer, in the final)".
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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