Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Rafael Nadal withdraws from US Open

Rafael Nadal withdraws from US Open

Nadal, who was bidding to win his 18th Grand Slam title, faced similar issues during his third-round match against Russia's Karen Khachanov.

In Wednesday's other quarter-final, Marin Cilic was ousted in five sets by Kei Nishikori, despite winning more points in the match and creating four more break point chances - such are the fine margins often required to win tennis matches.

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The US Open men's semi-finals take place tonight in NY, and returning to preview the two matches, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston.

"As thousands of other tennis players around the world, I'm trying to be the best I can be", Djokovic said immediately after beating Nishikori.

The big Argentine was leading 7-6 (3), 6-2 when Rafa Nadal retired with a right knee injury.

"It means a lot to me", del Potro said. Nine years ago, he stunned Nadal in the semifinals, then Roger Federer in the final, to win the US Open at age 20. He's made the French Open semifinals, the Wimbledon quarterfinals, and now a US Open final this year.

"These moments are tough but I have to keep going and working hard to get more opportunities".

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He has won the last 13 although Nishikori defeated the Serb in NY in the 2014 semi-finals on his way to a runners-up spot against Marin Cilic.

The 32-year-old Nadal quit during a match for the second time in four Grand Slams this year.

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.

Del Potro will go on to face the victor of Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori, who play Friday night. He even barely took any time between points while serving - and he's known as one of the slowest guys on tour.

Djokovic missed the tournament past year because of an injured right elbow that eventually required surgery.

Djokovic said he changed his shirt 10 times in his quarter-final victory over Millman in a match which was held up for more than six minutes at 2-2 in the second set when the Australian left the court to change his clothes.

Del Potro said afterwards: 'It's the not best way to win a match, I love to play against him, he is a such a fighter and I don't like to see him suffering.

Del Potro, who has returned to the pinnacle of the sport after recovering from two wrist surgeries in 2010, had lost to Nadal the last three times the players had met in grand slams and had lost 11 times from 16 meetings against the Spaniard. This is my favourite tournament, my biggest memories on a tennis court came on this court in 2009. Initially able only to hit slice backhands, Del Potro began to trust his two-hander more and, with it, the 29-year-old again became a major force.

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