Friday, September 7, 2018

Nadal quits match; del Potro, Djokovic reach final

Rafael Nadal, playing at Indian Wells last year, retired with right knee
tendinitis with Juan Martin del Potro leading 7-6 (3), 6-2 today in the
U.S. Open semifinals. Photo by Mal Taam
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   If anyone deserves a break, it's Juan Martin del Potro.
   The No. 3 seed got one today when No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal retired with right knee tendinitis with del Potro leading 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the U.S. Open semifinals in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Nadal, a three-time U.S. Open champion, was coming off three consecutive tough matches in oppressive heat and humidity. However, he had two days to rest after the last one.
   Nadal subdued No. 27 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia in 4 hours, 23 minutes in the third round, Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in 3 hours, 19 minutes in the fourth round and No. 9 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in 4 hours, 49 minutes in the quarterfinals. The latter match ended at 2:04 a.m. EDT Wednesday.
   Nadal also retired from his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic in January with a right leg injury.
   Del Potro, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) right-hander with a two-handed backhand, stunned Nadal and Roger Federer to win the 2009 U.S. Open but had surgery on his right wrist in 2010 and three operations on his left wrist in 2014-15.
   "It's been horrible for me," del Potro, who considered retirement, lamented in 2015. "One doctor would say something to me; another would say something different. It was difficult to believe one or the other."
   Del Potro, who will turn 30 on Sept. 23, will face No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic on Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT (ESPN). Djokovic, a two-time U.S. Open champion and five-time runner-up, dominated Kei Nishikori, the 2014 runner-up at Flushing Meadows, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
   Djokovic is 14-4 against Del Potro with a three-match winning streak and six victories in their last seven matches.
   Women's singles -- No. 17 seed Serena Williams, who has a residence in Silicon Valley, will try to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles when she meets No. 20 Naomi Osaka, 20, of Japan on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ESPN).
   Osaka, who will play in her first major final, defeated Williams 6-3, 6-2 in the first round at Miami in March in their only previous meeting. It was Williams' second tournament since giving birth to her first child on Sept. 1, 2017, and enduring life-threatening complications.
   Men's doubles -- Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) won his 18th Grand Slam men's doubles title, breaking the record he shared with John Newcombe.
   No. 3 seeds Bryan and Jack Sock of the United States outclassed No. 7 Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-3, 6-1 in 74 minutes for the crown in a matchup of the last two Wimbledon championship teams.
   Bryan, 40, and Sock claimed their second consecutive Grand Slam title. Bryan's twin brother, Bob, underwent hip surgery on Aug. 2.
   Boys singles -- Unseeded Jenson Brooksby, 17, of Carmichael in the Sacramento area beat 14th-seeded Brandon Nakashima of San Diego 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
   Brooksby also defeated Nakashima 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to win last month's USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich, and 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Easter Bowl at Indian Wells in March en route to the title.
   Brooksby, who plans to enroll at Texas Christian in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020, is scheduled to play unseeded Lorenzo Musetti of Italy on Saturday. Musetti dismantled Daniel Michalski of Poland 6-4, 6-0.

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