Djokovic, del Potro enter finals; Nadal retires: US Open

New York [USA], Sep 08: A clinical performance by World No. 6 Novak Djokovic helped him ease past Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals of men’s singles in the ongoing US Open and book his place in the final of the Grand Slam.

The Serbian ace registered a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 scoreline to give him a chance to win his third US Open title and his second Grand Slam of the year after the Wimbledon win earlier this year.

Holding a 14-2 win record against the Japanese, Djokovic was never in threat of an upset by the current World No. 21 as he raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Although Nishikori managed to claw back three games to make it 5-3, Djokovic held him to love and sealed the first set with an ace.

A better start for Nishikori in the second set saw him level with the holder of 13 Grand Slam Titles at 2-2. Djokovic broke Nishikori’s next serve and, with Nishikori unable to break any of the Serbian’s serves, the second set went to Djokovic’s name at 6-4.

Djokovic went into cruise control in the third set, winning four consecutive games from 2-2 to win the match and book his spot in the final.

The Serbian will face Argentina’s World No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro in the final on September 10.

Defending US Open Champion and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Friday retired from the semi-final clash against Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the men’s singles of the ongoing US Open owing to a niggling knee injury.

Nadal’s dominant 11-5 win record over the Argentine counted for nothing as his lack of fitness, after the marathon, a five-set thriller in extreme heat and humid conditions on Wednesday against Austria’s Dominic Thiem, was apparent in the losses in the first two sets against del Potro.

The game started on an ominous note for Nadal as del Potro broke his serve in the first game of the first set.

owever, Nadal returned the favour in the following game and levelled the score at 1-1. After holding their serves for three games each, del Potro broke Nadal’s serve to inch ahead at 5-4, with Nadal levelling the score again in the next game.

The first set advanced to the tiebreaker after Argentina’s World No. 3 drew back at 6-6. An array of unforced errors for the Spaniard resulted in the first set going del Potro’s way.

The two have faced off in the US Open semi-finals twice before, with del Potro beating the Spaniard in 2009 on route to his first Grand slam win. Nadal bested the Argentine in their meeting last year.

The second set was where Nadal’s knee problems started aggravating, with a trainer coming on to the court to re-tape Nadal’s right knee after it ripped off. His knee was also taped in the first set.

Nadal’s injury restricted his movement to a great extent and caused him to eventually concede the set 2-6, with the five-time US Open champion walking up to the chair umpire and confirming his retirement from the match.

The retirement automatically gives the Argentine the final berth, with the World No. 3 on the brink of what will be only his second ever Grand Slam title.