Spanish juggernaut Rafael Nadal remained on course for a 16th Grand Slam title and his third at the US Open after seeing off Juan Martin del Potro in four sets to reach Sunday’s final.
The excursions of a five-set epic against Dominic Thiem and then Roger Federer last time seemed to take its toll on Del Potro as Nadal dished out a 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2 lesson to set up a final against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
Nadal turned on the afterburners after losing the first set to win 19 out of the last 24 games to cruise into Sunday’s showpiece for the first time in four years.
“It means a lot,” said Nadal. “It’s been an amazing season after a couple of years with some troubles. This year since the beginning has been very emotional.
“To have the chance to be in another final here is very, very important for me. We did a lot of good work, we believed in what we were doing and I still have the passion and the love for this game.”
Del Potro had defeated Nadal before beating Federer for his one and only title at Flushing Meadows in 2009, and the top-seeded Nadal went into the contest having not lost a Grand Slam semi-final since that defeat. He made it 15 straight to power into his 23rd career major final.
The giant Argentine was unable to break down left-hander Nadal whose resilience was unquenchable. He will now be seeking his third US Open crown after 2010 and 2013.
Del Potro won 17 of 22 points on his first serve, out-hitting Nadal to win the first set 6-4 in 50 minutes of high-octane action on an atmospheric Arthur Ashe Stadium.
But the 31-year-old Nadal struck back in stunning fashion firing 13 winners to Del Potro’s two in a second set that lasted just 27 minutes as he doled out a bagel.
He won the next three in the third set to make it nine in a row before Del Potro eventually stopped the rot. But the world No 1 maintained his charge to move one set away from a spot in the final as he closed it out 6-3.
Nadal had clearly found his stride and two more breaks got the job done in two hours and 30 minutes to reach his third major final of the year in some style after losing to Federer in Australia before claiming his 10th French Open crown in June.
Match Stats: Nadal v Del Potro Aces 5 7 Double faults 2 4 1st serve win percentage 77% 71% 2nd serve win percentage 72% 28% Net points won 21/27 6/13 Break points won 6/13 1/2 Winners 45 23 Unforced errors 20 40 Total points won 109 76
Sky Sports Tennis will have all the action from the US Open women’s final covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with our live blogs and updates as the Grand Slam year reaches its climax.
On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation. Who will win the US Open titles this year? Have your say…
We will also have coverage of the World Tour Finals in November with every match live on Sky Sports.