Writing on Arthur Kapetanakis reports: On the day Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djokovic won to set up a blockbuster men’s singles final, Mike Bryan and Jack Sock claimed the first major silverware of the 2018 US Open by lifting the men’s doubles title in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The three victors, two individuals and one team, started strong and never faded; none dropped sets, and del Potro’s 7-6 opener against Rafael Nadal was the only one in which the eventual winner surrendered more than four games.
Del Potro returns to the final: Nine years after he shocked the tennis world by taking out Roger Federer in the 2009 final, Del Potro is back in the Sunday showcase.
In an enthralling opening set that featured four breaks of serve, Del Potro squandered two set points on his serve at 5-4, but he made up for it in the tiebreak, winning 7-3, to put Rafael Nadal’s bid for back-to-back US Open titles in jeopardy.
Nadal was a step slow in the second set, falling, 6-2, before retiring due to tendinitis in his right knee.
The Spaniard’s best was required to challenge an in-form Del Potro, and as the pain kept him from producing that, he made the difficult decision to put his health first and bow out.
“I waited as much as I can,” said Nadal. “You could imagine very difficult for me to say good-bye before the match finish. But at some point you have to take a decision. It was so difficult for me to keep playing at the same time that way, having too much pain.
“That was not a tennis match at the end, no? It was just one player playing, the other one staying on the other side of the court. I hate to retired, but stay one more set out there playing like this will be too much for me.”
Djokovic outdoes Kei Nishikori: It was a matchup of similar styles, but Djokovic outclassed his opponent by finding an extra gear of baseline brilliance.
The 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory was every bit as routine as the scoreline suggests, and the Serb will be pleased to enter his 8th US Open final on the back of an efficient victory that lasted just 2 hours and 22 minutes.
Djokovic leads Del Potro 14-4 in their career head-to-head, including a 4-0 record in Grand Slams, but the World No 3 has been on song in New York, spurred on by soccer-style singing from his Argentine fans that dominate the Ashe crowd.
In addition to the US Open trophy, Sunday’s final will also determine which man claims the No 3 spot in the ATP Rankings the following day.
Bryan and Sock win second straight Slam: Mike Bryan won a record 18th Grand Slam men’s doubles title with the help of his new, temporary partner, Jack Sock, the first US Open since 1995 in which Mike and brother Bob did not compete as a team.
When it was confirmed that Bob was out for the remainder of 2018, Sock jumped at the chance to partner with ‘one half of the greatest doubles team of all time’, as he described it.
The new-look duo followed up their Wimbledon trophy with a dominant run in New York, capped off by Friday’s 6-3 6-1 victory over Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil.
The champions dropped just one set in six US Open matches.
Junior wrap: American Cori Gauff fell while Chun Hsin Tseng powered on in his quest for four Grand Slam finals.
Two Brits, Emma Raducanu and Aidan McHugh, failed to make it past the quarters and third round respectively.
Wheelchair wrap: After a wash-out on Day 1 of play for the 2018 US Open Wheelchair Competition, the competition kicked-off in full swing on Friday, with 15 matches between singles and doubles commencing.
Day 13 preview: The women’s final headlines Day 13 of the 2018 US Open, bringing together two players who could not be more different in terms of experience or more alike in terms of the way they’ve dominated their respective halves of the draw.
Six-time US Open champ Serena Williams will take on first-time US Open finalist Naomi Osaka for the women’s title; each earning this second-Saturday showing by playing remarkable tennis throughout the course of this Flushing fortnight.
BritWatch: Emma Raducanu lost to Clara Burel (FRA) , 6-2 6-0; Aidan McHugh lost to Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) , 6-4, 6-1.
Brits in action on Day 12: Court 6 – Boys Doubles SF / Anton Matusevich & Adrian Andreev (BUL) v Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) & Giulio Zappieri (ITA).
Prime Watch: Amazon Prime are streaming game 3 match courts in addition to its US Open Live Show channel, available via smart TV, FireStick, computer and mobile device.
These are live television feeds from Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and Court 17.