Nadal retires to send Del Potro into U.S. Open final

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A weary and wounded world number one Rafael Nadal retired from his U.S. Open semi-final while trailing Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(3) 6-2 on Friday, sending the Argentine back to the Flushing Meadows final for the first time since his 2009 triumph. Nadal, who had never before retired from a U.S. Open match, showed signs of distress almost from the start as he limped noticeably after a grueling 69-minute opening set. He called for the trainer during the changeover on serve at 2-1 in the second. The defending champion had his knee massaged and re-taped and bravely continued through the second set before telling the umpire he was unable to continue. “It’s not the best way to win a match,” said Del Potro. “I love to play against Rafa because he’s the biggest fighter in this sport. “I’m sad for him.” Nadal’s stamina and famous fitness have been put to the test on the sweltering Flushing Meadows hardcourts as he has logged nearly 16 hours through five matches. The Spaniard was made to work for his place in the last four, needing a fifth set tiebreak to see off Dominic Thiem in the quarters. It was the second time this year that the world number one has retired from a slam as he also quit during his quarter-final against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in January. window.RCOM_Data = {“header_jmup3mwewu”:{“template”:”header”,”evergreens”:[{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/news/world”,”name”:”World”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/finance”,”name”:”Business”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/finance/markets”,”name”:”Markets”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/politics”,”name”:”Politics”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.tv/”,”name”:”TV”,”sponsored”:false}],”topics”:[{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/subjects/myanmar-reporters”,”name”:”Detained In Myanmar”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/energy-environment”,”name”:”Energy u0026 Environment”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/brexit”,”name”:”Brexit”,”sponsored”:false},{“url”:”https://www.reuters.com/north-korea”,”name”:”North 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Keating”,”journalist_url”:”/journalists/steve-keating”}],”shareUrl”:”https://reut.rs/2NSKqUC”,”published”:1536359753,”updated”:1536361763,”path”:”/article/us-tennis-usopen-nadal-delpotro/nadal-retires-to-send-del-potro-into-u-s-open-final-idUSKCN1LN2PI”,”location”:”NEW YORK”,”body”:”u003cpu003eBy Steve Keatingu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eNEW YORK (Reuters) – A weary and wounded world number one Rafael Nadal retired from his U.S. Open semi-final while trailing Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(3) 6-2 on Friday, sending the Argentine back to the Flushing Meadows final for the first time since his 2009 triumph.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eNadal, who had never before retired from a U.S. Open match, showed signs of distress almost from the start as he limped noticeably after a grueling 69-minute opening set.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eHe called for the trainer during the changeover on serve at 2-1 in the second.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe defending champion had his knee massaged and re-taped and bravely continued through the second set before telling the umpire he was unable to continue.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003e“It’s not the best way to win a match,” said Del Potro. “I love to play against Rafa because he’s the biggest fighter in this sport.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003e”I’m sad for him.”u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eNadalu0027s stamina and famous fitness have been put to the test on the sweltering Flushing Meadows hardcourts as he has logged nearly 16 hours through five matches.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe Spaniard was made to work for his place in the last four, needing a fifth set tiebreak to see off Dominic Thiem in the quarters.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eIt was the second time this year that the world number one has retired from a slam as he also quit during his quarter-final against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in January. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003en”,”attribution”:{“type”:”default”,”content”:”Editing by Pritha Sarkar”},”images”:[{“url”:”//s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027787u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861S8″,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sept 7 2018; New York, NY, USA; nRafael Nadal of Spain waves to the crowd after retiring from a menu0027s semi-final match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports”},{“url”:”//s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302019875u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861R7″,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sept 7 2018; New York, NY, USA; nRafael Nadal of Spain gets his leg taped during a line change while playing Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in a menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports”},{“url”:”//s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027790u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861SC”,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sep 7, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain winces while receiving treatment from an ATP trainer during a changeover against Juan Mart’n Del Potro of Argentina (not pictured) in a menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports”},{“url”:”//s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027788u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861SA”,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sep 7, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain gestures while challenging a call against Juan Mart’n Del Potro of Argentina (not pictured) in a menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports”},{“url”:”//s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027791u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861SJ”,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sept 7 2018; New York, NY, USA; nRafael Nadal of Spain (right) greets Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina after retiring from the menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports”},{“url”:”//s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027792u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861SH”,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sep 7, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand against Juan Mart’n Del Potro of Argentina (not pictured) in a menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports”},{“url”:”//s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027793u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861SG”,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sept 7 2018; New York, NY, USA; nJuan Martin del Potro of Argentina hits to Rafael Nadal of Spain in a menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports”},{“url”:”//s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027785u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861S3″,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sep 7, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain faces Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in a menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS”},{“url”:”//s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180907u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302027789u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE861SB”,”title”:”Tennis: US Open”,”caption”:”Sep 7, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina serves to Rafael Nadal of Spain in a menu0027s semi-final match on day twelve of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 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