Rafael Nadal soars into US Open final, will face Kevin Anderson

Rafael Nadal tackles Juan Martin del Potro on Friday for a place in the US Open final, wary of the Argentine giant whose game he describes as having the power to leave opponents "dead". Dealing with an illness, del Potro came back from a two-set deficit to win his fourth-round match in five sets, and then got past 19-time major champion Federer in the quarterfinals in four sets. That puts Nadal, at 31, through to his 23rd major-tournament final, and his fourth US championship match. I will have the chance to play against him in the semi-finals in my best tournament and just try to think about tennis. But the most important thing is to play at my best level.

Federer congratulated his opponent for the victory. "That's already happened in the whole season".

After the first set Del Potro's energy stalled and the Argentine lost the second set 6-0. "The player who plays better that day is the player that is going to have better chances", mentioned Nadal with a philosophical approach ahead of the match.

Federer, who skipped the US Open warm-up tournaments because of back pain, said he was fit to play but the damage had been done before the action started in NY. He was dominant. He played well. Playing every inch like a world number one, he won the next nine games - his serve a strong foundation as he made only one unforced error in the second set.

World number 32 Anderson became the lowest-ranked U.S. Open men's singles finalist since the inception of the ATP rankings in 1973 when he survived an early wobble to down Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4.

"It's nice some of [the top players] gave us a shot to make a run", Anderson said.

"This is why we work so hard".

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                                                            |By Steve Keating
Image Zoom |By Steve Keating

"It is well that some of them we have been able to know such a long journey in this tournament", simply said Anderson.

"That put me in a position where I needed some luck, where the margins were really tight".

After dropping their respective first sets, both 31-year-olds found their game to prevail in four-set semifinals to reach the U.S. Open final.

The pair will be appearing in their first Grand Slam finals in what will be the first US Open final to feature two American women since Serena Williams beat sister Venus in 2002.

Federer also said that, unlike just about everyone else, he did not spend any time at all thinking about a possible matchup with Nadal. So I think the first set was very good for me.

The 24th seed swept Roger Federer aside in four sets in the quarter-finals on Wednesday after coming from the brink to beat Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem in the previous round, his big serve and mighty forehand proving too hot for his rivals to handle.

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  • Lawrence Cooper