An absolute blockbuster semifinal match between Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro takes place at the US Open on Friday evening - here’s what you need to know about it.
They’re both already US Open champions. Del Potro was the first to win here, capturing the title in 2009, rallying from a set and a break down to edge Roger Federer in five sets in the final. Nadal has two US Open titles in 2010 and 2013, beating Novak Djokovic in four sets in both of those finals.
Nadal’s 22-3 in Grand Slam semifinals. The Spaniard is hard to beat at this stage, with winning records in the semifinal round of all four Grand Slams - he’s 4-1 in semifinals at the Australian Open, 10-0 in French Open semifinals, 5-0 in Wimbledon semifinals and 3-2 in US Open semifinals.
Del Potro’s 1-2 in Grand Slam semifinals. The win came here at the US Open en route to his title in 2009 - the losses came at the 2009 French Open (to Federer) and 2013 Wimbledon (to Djokovic).
Nadal’s already secured No.1. By virtue of winning his quarterfinal match against Andrey Rublev and Federer losing his to none other than del Potro, Nadal is guaranteed to stay No.1 when the new ATP World Tour Rankings are released next Monday. He returned to the top spot after Cincinnati.
Del Potro saved two match points to get here. Two days before his electric quarterfinal win over Federer, del Potro pulled off a miracle fourth round win over Dominic Thiem, saving two match points in the fourth set with aces en route to a 1-6 2-6 6-1 7-6(1) 6-4 victory in three hours and 35 minutes.
Nadal leads the head-to-head against del Potro, 8-5. Not only is he up in the overall head-to-head, the Spaniard has also won three of his four meetings with the Argentine in best of five set format.
BUT… del Potro won their only US Open meeting. Del Potro has a few aces up his sleeve. He’s won their last two meetings, he’s up 5-4 on hardcourts, and he won their only previous meeting at the US Open, handily - a 6-2 6-2 6-2 demolition in two hours and 20 minutes in the semifinals in 2009.
Here are highlights from their last meeting, the Rio Olympics semifinals, just over a year ago: