US Open semis: Nadal leads Del Potro in fourth set – radio & text

Radio and text commentary as Rafael Nadal faces Juan Martin del Potro in the second semi-final in New York.

Nadal slam-dunks away the smash to move within a game of the final.

Del Potro 6-4 0-6 3-6 1-4 *Nadal

A double fault from Juan Martin del Potro sends Rafael Nadal across to the other side of the court with a 0-30 lead.

A Delpo forehand flies off the leash and long and three break points that are as good as a free pass to the final.

The Argentine bets the house down the line…and misses.

Nadal a double break clear and surely over the horizon and far away.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 3-6 1-3 Nadal

Rafael Nadal is straining for home.

The Spaniard cleaves down the T to bring up 40-0 and finishes off the rout of Juan Martin del Potro with a massive inside-out forehand.

That is number one of the four service holds that he needs for victory.

Del Potro 6-4 0-6 3-6 1-2 *Nadal

Rafael Nadal sniffs blood in the water at 15-30.

Tiggerish enthusiasm as he bounces into a jumping forehand and Del Potro can’t deal with the kick.

Two break points for Nadal.

A forehand of laser-like precision that Delpo manages to prod back over, but Nadal finishes the job with a prod down the line as the big man desperately tries to make up the ground.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 3-6 1-1 Nadal

Anything you can do…

Rafael Nadal shows no sign of loosening the iron grip that he has had on his own serve.

A love hold.

Del Potro 6-4 0-6 3-6 1-0 *Nadal

Feel those tremours? That is a flat-lining Juan Martin del Potro jump-starting into life.

The Argentine races to 40-0 with clubbing forehands to the fore.

There is definitely more vim and zip in those groundstrokes than we have seen in the last couple of set.

Another ripper right out the centre, seals the game to 15.

Jeff Tarango

Former professional tennis player on 5 live sports extra at Flushing Meadows

Nadal is winning the war and he’s cracked the code too by keeping Del Potro guessing which side he’s going to hit to. He’s had a few drop shots to surprise Del Potro too and he’s not let up for a second.

I thought he was going to go for a comfort break but his coach Carlos Moya seemed to suggest he should stay there and finish it off.

Nadal cannot be stopped – he’s like a computer hacker who is just refusing to stop typing.


Daniel: Tiredness has caught up with Del Potro, it looks more emotional than physical though. If anyone knows how to dig deep, it’s him.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 3-6 Nadal

A dogfight of a game, both players wafting errors off both wings.

Juan Martin del Potro rouses his troops in the stands with a whopper of a forehand in the opening point and Rafael Nadal flaps a backhand into the top of the net for 30-30 to breathe on the embers.

But Del Potro’s backhand is smothered by the net. Set point.

Nadal hammers the smash into the surface and out of bounds!

A triple fist pump and Del Potro’s resistance might be broken for good.

Del Potro 6-4 0-6 3-5 *Nadal

Rafael Nadal duffs a too-clever-by-half drop-shot into the top of the net with Juan Martin del Potro having given up the point and all the time in the world in his back pocket.

The crowd are gaping like goldfish with surprise.

Del Potro takes advantage and holds.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 2-5 Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro is fighting to keep his nose above the tideline.

He saves one set point at 15-40 with an enormous forehand.

And the second is salvaged via the same method.

A bludgeoned stroke gets him to deuce.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 2-5 Nadal

Rafael Nadal is denying Juan Martin del Potro the time and platform to welly that forehand.

It was so potent in the first set, but Nadal seems to have found the remedy.

He is chasing down everything and is making Del Potro feel the lactic burn.

Del Potro 6-4 0-6 2-4 *Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro holds to love to spark a chorus of oles from the rafters.

The big man looks at the rockface of faces around the Arthur Ashe Stadium and wipes the corners of his mouth with a towel.

What is going on in the top six inches? Is there enough there to convince the six feet below to join a long-haul fight once again?

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 1-4 Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro spanks the forehand into Rafael Nadal’s backhand.

The Spaniard can only slice into the top of the net for 30-30.

But that mini-chance is snuffed out before it has a chance to develop into anything more serious.

Rafael Nadal is darting around the court, looking up for the fight.

Juan Martin del Potro looks like he wants a cab home.

Jeff Tarango

Former professional tennis player on 5 live sports extra at Flushing Meadows

Del Potro has to hit aces – it doesn’t matter if he double faults – and smash forehands so hard Nadal can’t hit them back.

He’s really late on the ball now, it’s spraying off the racquet. It’s like he can’t focus on the ball properly.

Del Potro 6-4 0-6 1-3 *Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro stops the nine-game rot.

That was a game won through heart, mind and instinct rather than anything more pretty or creative.

David Law

Radio 5 live sports extra commentator at Flushing Meadows

Nadal is like a shark scenting blood in the water. Anything remotely short from Del Potro and he is on to it so quickly.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 0-3 Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro wafts a backhand into the net under no pressure to slip to 0-30.

I wonder if we might be close to a retirement from the big man.

He is running on vapours.

Rafael Nadal comes hustling into the net and whacks away a forehand for 15-40 and two break points.

Juan Martin del Potro survives via a big serve and a Rafael Nadal pass that is snagged, just, by the tape…


*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 0-3 Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro is looking like a man lost out there.

He picks at this strings, stares at his toes and can do nothing as Rafael Nadal takes the match by the scruff with a hold to love.

The Spaniard is skipping around the court, moving up and taking time away from the less mobile Del Potro.

And it is working a dream…


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Del Potro 6-4 0-6 0-2 *Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s second serve return gives Juan Martin del Potro the hurry-up on his backhand side for 15-30.

And a backhand speared down the line like a harpoon! 15-40 and two break points for the Spaniard!

Into an epic rally, Back and forth. Both men off balance. And Nadal finds the route to victory, threading the ball against the grain and snapping the Del Potro serve once again.

Nadal’s dad is off his feet and beaming…

*Del Potro 6-4 0-6 0-1 Nadal

Maybe the Juan Martin del Potro forehand is coming off the strings slower, perhaps Rafael Nadal has got up to the supersonic speed, but the Argentine’s main weapon is not making as many dents as it was in the opening set.

Nadal holds to 15 and Del Potro is trudging.

He is a stroller around the court, but he looks even slower than usual out there.

Nadal has won the last seven games.

Jeff Tarango

Former professional tennis player on 5 live sports extra at Flushing Meadows

That set shows how much the first set took out of Del Potro. He was winded and looked tired after hitting all those forehands. I expected him to come out firing in the set but now I wonder if he has anything left in the tank.

Nadal has the momentum and he’s unlikely to unclench those teeth.

Del Potro 6-4 0-6 *Nadal

Twenty-seven minutes was all it took for Rafael Nadal to dissolve the lead that Juan Martin del Potro worked so hard to establish in the first set.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-5 Nadal

Rafael Nadal is busier than a worker bee.

The Spaniard stalks in, moving up the court and dinking in a drop-shot for 15-30.

A second-serve return winner and Rafael Nadal has two set points.

Both clawed off the table – one via a streaking ace, the second by a duff return – and we are to deuce.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-5 Nadal

Rafael Nadal has won 20 of the 25 points in this set so far and is 5-0 up in 20 minutes.

It has been just one-way traffic.

Perhaps an fatigued Del Potro plans to win it in five by winning one, taking one off, repeat until victory.

Del Potro 6-4 0-4 *Nadal

Rafael Nadal has got the skids under Juan Martin del Potro.

The Spaniard slaps away a winner from mid-court for 15-40 and two break points.

Juan Martin falls on his sword with a terrible shanked forehand. He has come off the boil just as Nadal has turned up the gas.

Oh, and Hollywood institution Robert Redford caught one of the stray balls during that game.



Tiger Woods fist pumping as Nadal breaks. In Federer’s team in the ’06 final vs. Roddick. Wondered who he would’ve gone for if RF were here?

*Del Potro 6-4 0-3 Nadal

And a love service hold to send the players back to the stools.

No doubt who has made the faster start to the second.

Rafael Nadal is relishing a reset scoreboard. Juan Martin del Potro looks like his concentration has flickered since winning the opener.

Del Potro 6-4 0-2 *Nadal

Chris McKendry


Rafa’s court position on Delpo’s serve. Goodness.

Del Potro 6-4 0-2 *Nadal

A double fault from Juan Martin del Potro puts the big man in a spot of 15-30 bother.

What the serve takes away, it tends to give back threefold though.

A massive ace.

But Rafael Nadal is as tenacious as a terrier at the back of the court. He forces Del Potro into one more shot. Into the net. 30-40 and break point.

Del Potro tries to bully Nadal out of it, but he has overcooked.

Nadal clenches and shouts. First blood in the second set.

Piers Newbery

BBC Sport at Flushing Meadows

“We have a problem that when we hit our forehand to Del Potro’s backhand, our forehand is not enough…. good.”

One of the more intriguing innovations of US TV coverage is interviewing coaches during the matches, with ESPN’s fearless Pam Shriver sent into the stands to mine for gold.

The ever affable Toni Nadal neatly sums up why world-class coaching can mean keeping it simple.

*Del Potro 6-4 0-1 Nadal

Rafael Nadal needs to rediscover some of that matador sass that he has at his best.

He looked a little dispirited by Del Potro’s power towards the end of that first set.

That was more like it from the Spaniard as he moved Delpo around the court and pats away the backhand volley to hold to 15.

Jeff Tarango

Former professional tennis player on 5 live sports extra at Flushing Meadows

Del Potro played great tennis in that set. Every forehand drove Nadal further behind the baseline and had him on the defensive.

He changed it up with some drop shots and his backhand was so consistent and so deep that the ball scooted along the court to make it really hard for Nadal to hit back hard.

Nadal needs more spin, changes of pace, scrambling and he must try to bring Del Potro into the net more, but he’s so worried about the Del Potro forehand.

David Law

Radio 5 live sports extra commentator at Flushing Meadows

That game saw the best backhand that Del Potro has hit in about five years. That really pinged off the strings of his racquet like the old days.

How do you stop this guy? Nadal is way behind the baseline and looks puny in comparison.

Some might say Del Potro doesn’t actually need any help the way he hammers the ball on his forehand but it can’t do any harm.

Del Potro 6-4 *Nadal

It ends how you would expect a set won by Del Potro to end.

A gigantic ball-morphing forehand pops away past Rafael Nadal, making the Spaniard look like he has replaced his sneakers with concrete wellies at the back of the court.

Two sets away from a return to the final for the first time since his victory in 2009.

*Del Potro 5-4 Nadal

A mighty exchange – thunder v lightning – as Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro trade from the baseline.

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