NEW YORK (Reuters) - Juan Martin del Potro and Rafa Nadal are still expected to produce some spectacular fireworks at the U.S. Open on Friday, even if it was not the semi-final many fans had been hoping for.
Argentine del Potro ruined the potential Nadal showdown with Roger Federer in the semi-final with a superb defeat of the Swiss maestro on Wednesday.
Del Potro and Nadal have met 13 times but many fans will look to their clash at the same point at Flushing Meadows in 2009 when the Argentine beat the Spaniard.
He then went on to beat Federer in a five-set thriller in the final to lift his only grand slam title.
Del Potro has charmed the New York crowd with his inspired run highlighted by a fourth round comeback from two sets down to topple sixth seed Dominic Thiem.
“Physically I’m not in the perfect conditions but when you play semi-finals on the grand slam, everything can happen,” said Del Potro, who has also had to fight off illness.
“So you must be ready for the chance and playing against Rafa in my favorite tournament, I will try to enjoy the atmosphere, the game, and I know if I play my best tennis, I could be a danger for him.”
With flag-waving Argentine fans coming out in force to back their man, the atmosphere around del Potro matches has rivaled that of a soccer game.
Nadal, however, can draw on considerable fan support of his own and the Spaniard has given his supporters plenty to cheer with two ruthless straight sets victories in his last two matches.
Nadal and Del Potro will be the undisputed headliners on Friday with the other clash featuring 12th seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and South African Kevin Anderson, both of whom are playing their first grand slam semi-final.
Anderson booked his place in the last four by beating the last American Sam Querrey, while Busta had the easiest path to the last four without facing a player ranked inside the top 25.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury