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After nearly quitting, 'everything is almost perfect': Juan Martin del Potro

Rafael Nadal will face Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open semi-final

Enough of the risks of surgery.

Q. When you look at the injuries that you have dealt with, Novak, Roger, Juan Martin, have as well, is this the reality of modern tennis: you're going to have to sustain these injuries to play at the level you play at? Del Potro was sympathetic, but he could not hide a beaming smile.

Next up is a mouth-watering clash against Argentinian third seed Juan Martin del Potro today and should Djokovic bag a third NY crown, he would join 14-time Grand Slam victor Pete Sampras in joint-third on the all-time list, trailing only Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (17). It's inspiring, actually. I don't think a lot of people really know how bad it was. Today at 2-all in the first I felt it again.

"I mean, he's a gentle giant", Djokovic said.

"But I think that is completely in the past, and now I'm having a good present, looking forward for the future".

"A year ago I was fighting for my life in the hospital after I had the baby", Williams said.

"Everything", he added with a smile, "is nearly flawless".

Djokovic, who has made seven previous finals in NY but won only two, will now face Del Potro in Sunday's final.

Alec Baldwin of "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" was seen cheering during the men's semifinals, along with other celebrities such as actor Chevy Chase (with his original "Caddyshack" hat) and four-time Grand Slam victor Manolo Santana.

When he returned, he had to rebuild his backhand, first by relying exclusively on a slice, and only recently able to strike meaningful two-handed shots with confidence. "A big challenge because I've been fighting with many, many problems to get to this moment", he said.

The former because at the age of 37 his body is not capable of playing a demanding schedule anymore, while the latter's body continues to be his Achilles heel. A right elbow injury bothered him on and off for two seasons before he finally made a decision to have surgery in February.

"It absolutely gives me empathy".

"Well, counter to that, I guess: big return and some good backhands", he said.

"I know things are going the right way. Serve, return, groundstrokes - he was playing aggressive and I didn't have much energy to stay with him".

"I am working hard every day and trying to reach certain heights that I visualise every time I accomplish something big".

The 31-year-old moved to within one Grand Slam triumph of American great Sampras by winning Wimbledon in July, his first major triumph since the 2016 French Open. Two more breaks in the third finished off the semifinal.

Del Potro lost almost two years, undergoing three operations and fearing his career was finished. Now I'm much older. I have missed a lot of opportunities. "We all felt for his struggles with injuries that kept him away from the tour for two, three years", Djokovic said. I am playing well. But, you know, he's got two days now to recover, so he's going to be fresh. "It was just a matter of time".

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victory following his men's singles semi-final match against Kei Nishikori of Japan on Day Twelve of the 2018 U.S Open on September 7, 2018 in New York City.

Djokovic boasts a 14-4 lead over Del Potro in a 10-year rivalry, including two wins without dropping a set at the US Open in 2007 and 2012.

Del Potro advanced after defending champion and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal was forced to quit the US Open semifinal because of a knee injury.