Djokovic, del Potro need no OT to advance to US Open final

'Yes, well, probably seeing the results, consistency of the results I've had here, probably has been my most successful Grand Slam, ' he said after beating Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2.

Juan Martin del Potro brought is own cheering section to the US Open, but in truth, the "gentle giant" from Argentina has the backing of the entire tennis world.

On Friday, in the two sets he played, del Potro showed just why Djokovic and the rest rate him so highly.

The popular Argentinian, whose career has been blighted by serious wrist problems since that maiden grand slam success, will face Novak Djokovic or Kei Nishikori in the final.

The 21st seed from Japan was simply unable to stamp his authority on the match at any point and also appeared to have to contend with a few niggles as he was given the runaround by his opponent.

Wimbledon victor Djokovic kept Nishikori under relentless pressure, carving out 17 break point opportunities and winning 80 per cent of his own first serve points to win in two hours and 23 minutes.

Maybe "the tennis of his life" will be enough to be crowned champion in NY again, nine years after his ground-breaking campaign.

Nishikori has enough about him to make this a competitive affair and we should see plenty of long rallies, but if Djokovic plays to his best then there will only be one victor. "We all felt for his struggles with injuries that kept him away from the tour for two, three years", Djokovic said.

"I'm here now", he said after advancing when defending champion Rafael Nadal quit after two sets in their semifinal because of right knee tendinitis. The 19th edition of the Djokovic-Del Potro rivalry offers to be a fascinating contest. He's a big-match player. No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro, and No. 6 Novak Djokovic vs.

Everything that I got, it's special. The 2009 US Open champion - at a career-high ranking of world No 3 - had a long, arduous, painful journey, but he is finally back to where it all began for him nine years back.

"I guess he knew it was going to probably not be enough against some players, but he was happy enough playing this way, which I admire a lot. Reaching finals, winning titles, having my highest ranking ever in this moment, everything is nearly flawless", he said.

"There was always part of me that believed I could come back relatively quickly to the level of tennis that I once was playing".

"I didn't know", he said, "if I will be a tennis player again or not".

Del Potro lost almost two years, undergoing three operations and fearing his career was finished. A big challenge, as well, because I've been fighting with many, many problems to get to this moment. So Mike paired with Sock and they won Wimbledon in just their second event together.

"He's playing better everything".

There were other issues for him, too, including in the third set when, ahead by a break, he was called by the chair umpire for allowing the 25-second serve clock, making its Grand Slam debut at this tournament, run out on back-to-back points. That was followed by three procedures on his left wrist, which sidelined him for 2½ years' worth of Grand Slam tournaments.

  • Steve Townsend