Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Djokovic aims to cut 'gentle giant' Del Potro down to size

Rafael Nadal Modal Trigger Rafael Nadal Getty Images
| 08 September, 2018, 10:57

Djokovic and Del Potro have faced each other 18 times before with the Serb leading the head-to-head 14-4.

Devastated Rafael Nadal vowed the knee injury that forced him out of the US Open semi-final on Friday won't stop him chasing more Grand Slam glory.

Nadal would figure to have a tougher time in his fourth meeting with del Potro in the last five Grand Slam tournaments. "It was so hard for me to keep playing at the same time that way, having too much pain".

Nadal said that he first felt a knee problem in his second- or third-round match last week and that it acted up again Friday starting in the fifth game.

Nadal was devastated by having to pull out although he believes he hasn't suffered any long term damage. Commenting on the mentality a 37-year-old can have, Wilander said: 'I assure you start thinking, This could be my last.

"That was not a tennis match at the end, no?"

Djokovic entered the day with a 13-match winning streak against Nishikori.

That included nearly five hours to defeat Dominic Thiem in an epic quarter-final which stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning. Bizarrely, he warned James Keothavong midway through the second set that...

"It is not the best way to win a match".

"I love to play against Rafa because he's the biggest fighter in this sport and I don't like to see him suffering on court like today so I'm sad for him but I'm also happy to move forward". "Yeah, I didn't have [the] energy to stay with him", Nishikori said.


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.

But the big Argentine swept through the tiebreaker, wrapping up the opener after 69 minutes of impressive shot-making.

After just seven games, he called the trainer out onto the court to apply tape to his right knee, a part of his body that is particularly brittle.

The opening set went to a tie-break at Arthur Ashe Stadium, but Nadal took a medical timeout early in the second - having already had his troublesome knee taped in the first - and his movement was clearly limited thereafter.

As del Potro continued slamming serves at faster than 130 miles per hour (210 kph), whipping that trademark forehand and even making hay with his much-improved two-handed backhand, Nadal offered less and less resistance.

Del Potro won the finals in 2009, while Djokovic was the champion in 2011 and 2015. "I didn't expect to get in another Grand Slam final".

"It means a lot to me", del Potro said. "I was a kid then; now I am much older".

While we're on a stat kick, Djokovic will look to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season for the third time.

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

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