Rafael Nadal beats Juan Martin del Potro to surge into US Open final

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal swept past Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in brilliant style to set up a US Open final against Kevin Anderson.

Rafael Nadal, a veteran of big nights and spectacular wins, will play the 31-year-old South African debutant Kevin Anders on in the final of the US Open on Sunday after a commanding four-set win over Juan Martin del Potro on Friday night.

The Spaniard won nine games in a row at one stage on his way to a 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2 victory in the second semi-final.

South Africa’s Anderson, 31, beat Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 earlier on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

At 32 in the world, Anderson is the lowest-ranked man to reach a US Open singles final since the ranking system was introduced in 1973.

He faces a huge challenge against Nadal, who has a 4-0 record in their head-to-head and grew stronger as the match wore on against a tired Del Potro.

Nadal said of Anderson, “He is a huge player, with unbelievable serve. And he plays so well on this surface. He had some injuries but was able to back and play the best tennis of his career. I have known him since we were 12 years. Great to see him in the final.”

Nadal was the first to crack, in the fifth game, and Del Potro consolidated on his booming serve which was hitting the spot with ominous accuracy.

The last time Nadal lost in the semi-final of a slam was here in 2009 to Del Potro on the same court eight years ago, and he was not about to endure a repeat performance.

Del Potro, roared on by the Argentine fans who have given him loud support throughout this US Open, gathered himself to win a tight first set, before running out of steam.

The 24th seed coped superbly in the early stages as Nadal pummelled his weaker backhand wing, winning the cross-court battle and, thanks to a net cord on break point, with it the set.

But an epic five-set win over Dominic Thiem and a draining four-set defeat of Roger Federer in the previous rounds had left Del Potro admitting that he felt tired, and Nadal took full advantage.

The world number one found his range in the second set, shifting the point of attack to send his forehand up the line and reeling off 13 winners to Del Potro’s one.

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