The more anticipated clash of the two semi-finals will be up first on Friday afternoon as Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro seek to get one step closer to adding to their US Open count. Nadal would move to four with a title while a Del Potro win would be his second.
Nadal edged out Dominic Thiem in a five set thriller in the previous round, winning a final set tiebreak against the Austrian after coming back from an opening set bagel. He has now dropped sets in the last three rounds but the Thiem win will do wonders for his confidence with another huge fight on his hands in the semis. “[It was] very demanding in all aspects.” he said. “It’s good to have now two days that probably give me the chance to be on my 100% in the semifinals.”
Del Potro came for a set down to ensure the home crowd would not have a male presence to support in the semi finals. He was rarely troubled on serve in the 6-7 6-3 7-6 6-2 win, saving all three break points faced. “I think I played very solid. In particular I made good returns every service games. I had a lot of chances to break.” he said afterwards. “I don’t know if I’m playing my best tennis ever, but I’m feeling good.”
Nadal and Del Potro encounters have been a staple of slams over the past year. They played an epic 5 setter at Wimbledon as well as facing off in New York at this stage last year. Despite these wins, Nadal is not being complacent. “The challenge of playing him on hard of course is even higher for me personally than playing against him on clay,” he said. “I know that I will have to play at my highest level to keep having chances of success. I am focused on try to make that happen.”
The hugely popular Argentinian has one of his best opportunities yet to pick up a second slam as his level continues to increase. If he beats both Nadal and Djokovic to do so, it will be a title well deserved.
Prediction – Juan Martin Del Potro in 5 sets