On men's semifinal day at the US Open on Friday, Novak Djokovic, the No. 6 seed, made his second consecutive major final with a convincing straight-sets performance against Kei Nishikori.
While there was frustration for Nadal, victory for Del Potro saw the Argentinean return to a Grand Slam final for the first time in nine years when he memorably won the US Open aged 20, beating Nadal and Federer on the way.
Djokovic, the 2011 and 2015 champion, will be looking to complete the Wimbledon-US Open double for a third time when he tackles the 2009 victor in NY with a 14th major within touching distance. He will play the victor of last night's second semifinal between No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 21 Kei Nishikori.
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And he will start the heavy favourite, boasting a 14-4 record over the Argentine who will be playing in just his second final at the Slams. "I think the key of the match was the first set".
"I can not compare the knee with other times as the pain is always very similar".
The Serb held comfortably and crafted five break points in the second game of the match, converting the fifth. "I don't like to see him suffering on court like today, so I'm sad for him".
"These moments are tough but I have to keep going and working hard to get more opportunities".
"I love to play against Rafa because he's the biggest fighter in this sport".
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"The problem is this time it was something a little bit more aggressive because it was in one movement".
Defending champion Sloane Stephens could not repeat her dream performance from a year ago, but she gave it her all.
"It is not an injury that tells you, 'three weeks off, you are back".
Their quarter-final clash at Wimbledon was another affair altogether although it was again Nadal who emerged victorious after rallying from two sets to one down to win in four hours and 48 minutes. "Could have been better playing the final again, but maybe the my next chance".
It was the second time this year that the world number one has retired from a slam as he also quit during his quarter-final against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in January.
"I feel that I fight all my career against these kind of things".
Yet the in-form Djokovic, who has a 2-5 record from his previous finals in NY, expects a stern test from the 2009 champion, who has also looked in tremendous form over the past fortnight.
Afterward, the 32-year-old couldn't say for sure how long he might be sidelined. "Especially after coming from injury, I'm enjoying this challenge". He contemplated retiring in 2015, during a two-year stretch where he played just two tournaments. "All my career everybody said that because of my style, I will have a short career", he noted. "I didn't expect to get in another Grand Slam final". Now I'm much older.