Top seed Rafael Nadal produced a breathtaking performance as he rallied to beat Juan Martin del Potro in the U.S. Open semifinals.
All eyes were on 2009 champion Del Potro after he stunned 19-time grand slam winner Roger Federer in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.
But Del Potro’s run came to an end despite a jaw-dropping start in a repeat of the 2009 US Open semifinals, defeated 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2 by the two-time champion in New York on Friday.
Del Potro — who was battling illness heading into the clash having struggled at times against Federer and Dominic Thiem — looked on course for a showdown with Kevin Anderson in the decider, however Nadal showed why he has won 15 majors as he wore down the big-hitting 24th seed in a sensational onslaught for his 23rd appearance in a slam final.
Spurred on by a vocal Argentine following, and with golf icon Tiger Woods and Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio also in the stands, Del Potro put on a show in the first set.
Having threatened to break serve in the third game, Del Potro broke through in the fifth game — his power, which caused all kinds of problems for Federer – earning him another chance and he converted thanks to some luck with a net cord.
Del Potro netted two balls in his attempt to consolidate but he eventually held for a 4-2 lead.
It was an advantage he never relinquished, despite losing a memorable point to Nadal, whose attempted drop shot was sensationally returned by Del Potro only for the former to somehow get it back for a winner.
Del Potro was almost unplayable in the first set, his power and accuracy stopping Nadal in his tracks, but it was a completely different story in the second.
Nadal composed himself to absolutely blitz his opponent, hitting 13 winners compared to just two from Del Potro, who crumbled to a second-set bagel.
The runaway Nadal train continued to run hot in the third set, with Del Potro unable to stop the rot, despite encouragement from the Argentinean contingent.
Everything Nadal touched turned to gold as he raced out to a quick 3-0 lead in front of a stunned crowd. Del Potro struggling when serving and receiving.
There were signs of life in the fourth game when Del Potro saved two break points to finally hold serve for the first time since the opening set — ending Nadal’s run of nine successive games.
Del Potro fended off two set points in the eighth game but it only delayed the inevitable as Nadal took a two-sets-to-one lead.
Nadal never looked back, outclassing Del Potro to advance to his fourth U.S. Open final.
Nadal  bt Del Potro  4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2
Nadal – 45/20
Del Potro – 23/40
Nadal – 5/2
Del Potro -7/4
BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 6/13
Del Potro – 1/2
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nadal – 72
Del Potro – 66
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nadal – 77/72
Del Potro – 71/28
Nadal – 109
Del Potro – 76