On men's semifinal day at the US Open on Friday, Novak Djokovic, the No. 6 seed, made his second consecutive major final with a convincing straight-sets performance against Kei Nishikori.
Reaching a second consecutive Grand Slam final suggests the 13-times major champion is almost back to his best, though he will need to be even more clinical against Del Potro, who has only dropped one set in six matches in NY.
But he is back to his best as he bids for his third title at Flushing Meadows and 14th Grand Slam trophy overall.
Djokovic missed the tournament previous year because of an injured right elbow that eventually required surgery.
Juan Martin del Potro set up a US Open final clash against Novak Djokovic on Friday after defending champion and world number one Rafael Nadal quit his last-four clash against the giant Argentine with a knee injury.
Don't miss out on the latest news and information. This is the second time he has retired in a Grand Slam this year.
Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, mentioned retirement to the chair umpire midway through the second set, then threw in the towel after dropping the set. "I think the key of the match was the first set".
"But we've played 18 times against each other". As everybody knows, I had an issue, it was in the second or third match. "I was putting (constant) pressure on him, trying to move him around the court, take away the rhythm from him".
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"I love to play against Rafa because he's the biggest fighter", del Potro said after the Nadal left the court.
"The problem is this time it was something a little bit more aggressive because it was in one movement". After losing the first three matches of his comeback this year, he has gone on to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, lose to Nadal in the semi-finals in Rome and in the Queen's final to Cilic, before beating Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon final.
It took him two hours and 23 minutes - only 22 minutes longer than Nadal kept Del Potro interested, before an emotional withdrawal in the first semi-final.
Defending champion Sloane Stephens could not repeat her dream performance from past year, but she gave it her all.
High on confidence after his Wimbledon triumph in July, the Serbian will undoubtedly start as the favourite against Del Potro on Sunday.
The Japanese player's spirit was finally broken and his serve followed, with Djokovic claiming his fourth break with a fist-pumping celebration before serving for the match. He still can win Majors, he has won three in the last two years.
"I know things are going the right way". I am enjoying on court. "All my career everybody said that because of my style, I will have a short career", he noted.
"I waited as much as I can", he said. He contemplated retiring in 2015, during a two-year stretch where he played just two tournaments.