Nadal and del Potro meet again in a Grand Slam showdown

Juan Martin del Potro is bidding for a second grand slam title nine years after his first

So much of that time had felt wasted. Del Potro's boys will make sure of that.

Nadal leads del Potro 11-5, while Djokovic is 14-2 against Nishikori and has won their past 13 encounters.

"It means a lot to be back in the final", added Del Potro after his sixth win over Nadal, all on hard court.

A downbeat Nadal, who had spent almost 16 hours on court in battling through to the last four, said: "I had some issues during the tournament".

"He treats others the way he wants others to treat him", Djokovic said of the respect Del Potro commands in the locker room. "But I think that is completely in the past". But signs were not good as Nadal looked in distress about the knee. "Everything is nearly ideal".

"Negative thing is two of them have been in quarter-finals and semi-finals of a Grand Slam, close to fight for titles".

It was shortly after that triumph nine years ago in NY that del Potro's surgery on his dominant right wrist happened.

Mike Bryan broke a tie for most major doubles titles with John Newcombe, and at 40 years, 4 months became the oldest Grand Slam doubles champion in the professional era.

When he returned, he had to rebuild his backhand, first by relying exclusively on a slice, and only recently able to strike meaningful two-handed shots with confidence.

Djokovic said: "Seeing the consistency of the results I've had here, probably it has been my most successful Grand Slam".

The world number one had been targeting a fourth US Open title, but instead it's Del Potro who is eyeing his second after winning the title back in 2009.

The former because at the age of 37 his body is not capable of playing a demanding schedule anymore, while the latter's body continues to be his Achilles heel. It was a familiar pain, one that he's dealt with off-and-on for years.

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As effective a returner as Djokovic is, he has struggled to convert break points with regularity all year and those struggles have continued at the US Open.

This will be their third meeting in the Grand Slams this year alone with Nadal winning both - a straight-sets win in the French Open semifinals and a come-from-behind five-set triumph in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

"It absolutely gives me empathy". "I just have the chance to play the greatest in this sport, and it's awesome for me".

"I've played him many times on different occasions".

"I was fortunate not to be too long away, but I did carry my injury for over two years, so I understand what a player goes through", the 31-year-old Serb said.

On Sunday, he will face his biggest test this U.S. Open.

Djokovic is 14-4 against del Potro across their careers, including 4-0 at majors, and is pleased to see him at this level again.

"You could imagine it was very hard for me to say goodbye before the match finishes", Nadal said. I missed lot of opportunities. I think it's important to feel in these conditions. Six months off you are back.' I know what I have to do to be better as soon as possible. "It was just a matter of time", Djokovic said Friday.

Rafael Nadal was forced to retire after the second set.

Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, returns a shot to Rafael Nadal, of Spain, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in NY.

Del Potro won the finals in 2009, while Djokovic was the champion in 2011 and 2015.

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