Day 12. SF. Juan Martin Del Potro

Andy Taylor Emcee 2018 US Open 051 Juan Martin Del Potro Semifinal

Emcee Andy Taylor | The Voice of the US Open | Photo: USTA / Garrett Ellwood

[3] Juan Martin Del Potro -03- (ARG) def [1] Rafael Nadal -01- (ESP) | 76(3) 62 RET

There isn’t a single tennis fan who enjoys watching a player retire from a match. But when it’s Rafael Nadal who’s forced to retire? Magnify each fan’s grief by a thousand — perhaps more.

The 3-time US Open Champion (2010 | 2013 | 2017) went through the ringer this week. The humidity took it’s toll on everyone, but Rafa coupled soul-crushing conditions with monumental marathons.

He battled 4-hours and 23-minutes against Karen Khachanov in Round-3. Wednesday night’s clash with Dominic Thiem went 4-hours and 49-minutes, finally ending on a Thiem missed overhead at 2:00am.

Along the way, Nadal aggravated his knee. A hard-fought 1st-set against Delpo was truly all the 17-time Major Champion could muster. Playing through set-2 tempted fate — but he did it anyway.

Unable to continue at a high-level, knowing it wasn’t a championship match – think back to Nadal’s effort in the 2014 Australian Open Final, where he played through injury forcing Stan Wawrinka to earn his first Major title – Rafa knew it was best to call it a night.

It’s a shame. Had both been healthy, tonight’s match was too close to call. It was a tantalizing narrative. They’d met six times prior in the Slams. Nadal won five of those matches. Delpo’s one victory came on this court in 2009, where he went-on to end Roger Federer’s 5-year Flushing win-streak.

Rafal Nadal vs Juan Martin Del Potro at the Majors:

2018 QF Wimbledon: Nadal over Delpo in 5
2018 SF Roland Garros: Nadal over Delpo in 3
2017 SF US Open: Nadal over Delpo in 4
2011 R4 Wimbledon: Nadal over Delpo in 4
2009 SF US Open: Delpo over Nadal in 3
2007 R1 Roland Garros: Nadal over Delpo in 3

And so, with the retirement, Juan Martin Del Potro will get another shot at the US Open title. His first shot at a Major since winning the 2009 US Open. After so many injuries and surgeries of his own over the past decade, Sunday evening will truly be a special moment for Argentina’s gentle giant.

Andy Taylor Emcee 2018 US Open 051 Juan Martin Del Potro Semifinal Match Recap

NEXT: [3] Juan Martin Del Potro -03- (ARG) vs [6] Novak Djokovic -06- (SRB)

[3] Juan Martin Del Potro -03- (ARG)

9-years-ago he captured his first Grand Slam title right here in Arthur Ashe Stadium, defeating Rafael Nadal in the Semi’s, then 5-time defending champion Roger Federer in a thrilling 5-set Final. He’s a Davis Cup Champion, an Olympic Bronze and Silver Medalist, and with victories this year at Indian Wells and Acapulco – now owns 22 ATP World Tour Singles titles. He’s reached 4 Finals this year alone – and comes into this year’s US Open with a career-high ranking of world #3. Back in the Semifinals for the second straight year – From Argentina, please welcome 2009 US Open Champion…Juan Martin Del Potro.

2018 US Open Road to the Final:

SF: def [1] Rafael Nadal -01- (ESP) 76(3) 62 RET | Arthur Ashe Stadium
QF: def [11] John Isner -11- (USA) 67(5) 63 76(4) 62 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R4: def [20] Borna Coric -20- (CRO) 64 63 61 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R3: def [31] Fernando Verdasco -32- (ESP) 75 76(6) 63 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R2: def Denis Kudla -72- (USA) 63 61 76(4) | Louis Armstrong Stadium
R1: def Donald Young -246- (USA) 60 63 64 | Louis Armstrong Stadium

[1] Rafael Nadal -01- (ESP)

He is the defending US Open Champion…and one of the greatest to ever play the game. This Spring at Roland Garros, he earned an unprecedented 11th French Open title – which Combined with 2 Wimbledon victories, an Australian Open win, and 3 titles here in Flushing, make him a 17-time Grand Slam Champion. A 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist and 4-time Davis Cup Champion, with his US Open Series victory in Toronto, he now owns a remarkable 80 career tour-level Singles titles – And it was here, 8-years-ago, at just 24-years-old, he became the youngest man in the Open Era to earn the career Grand Slam. Back in the Semifinals for the 7th time – From Mallorca, Spain – Please welcome 3-time US Open Champion and the #1 Player in the World…Rafael Nadal.

2018 US Open Road to the Semifinals:

QF: def Dominic Thiem -09- (AUT) 06 64 75 67(4) 76(5) | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R4: def Nikoloz Basilashvili -37- (GEO) 63 63 67(6) 64 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R3: def [27] Karen Khachanov -26- (RUS) 57 75 76(7) 76(3) | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R2: def Vasek Pospisil -88- (CAN) 63 64 62 | Arthur Ashe Stadium
R1: def David Ferrer -148- (ESP) 63 34 RET | Arthur Ashe Stadium