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Djokovic sees off Nishikori to set up US Open final with Del Potro

Novak Djokovic stayed on course for back-to-back Grand Slam titles by beating Kei Nishikori Credit: PA

Novak Djokovic stayed on course for back-to-back Grand Slam titles by beating Kei Nishikori to set up a US Open final against Juan Martin del Potro.

With conditions much cooler than they have been for most of the tournament, Djokovic finally looked comfortable on Arthur Ashe Stadium and responded with his best performance to defeat Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2.

The sixth seed will contest an eighth US Open final looking for his third title and 14th overall at slams, which would put him level with Pete Sampras.

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US Open: 'I need to be at my best to beat Thiem' - Nadal

Nadal defeated Thiem in the 2018 French Open Final. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal believes now is the moment to step up the defence of his US Open title after another tough battle against Nikoloz Basilashvili.

After battling for nearly four and a half hours to beat Karen Khachanov on Friday, Nadal was again pushed beyond the three-hour mark before defeating his Georgian opponent 6-3 6-3 6-7 (6/8) 6-4.

Basilashvili, ranked 37, had won just a single game against Nadal in their only previous meeting at the French Open last year but played superbly here, especially in the third-set tie-break.

Next up for Nadal is a quarter-final against ninth seed Dominic Thiem, who is the only player to beat him on clay for the last two seasons and who ended the run of last year's beaten finalist Kevin Anderson on Sunday.

Nadal defeated Thiem in the French Open final but has a lot of respect for the Austrian. This will be their first meeting on hard courts after 10 matches on clay.

"He's a fantastic player," said Nadal. "He's a very powerful player. He's a great guy. I have a very good relationship with him.

"It's going to be a tough one. He knows how to play these kind of matches. I need to play my best match of the tournament if I want to keep having chances to stay in the tournament.

"Now is the moment to make the next step, step forward, play more aggressive. I did a lot of things well during the whole season. It's the moment to make it happen again. I hope to be ready to make that happen."

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Nadal dispatches Pospisil to reach US Open third round

Rafael Nadal was in ominous form as he dispatched Vasek Pospisil to set up a third-round clash with Karen Khachanov at the US Ope Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal was in ominous form as he dispatched Vasek Pospisil to set up a third-round clash with Karen Khachanov at the US Open.

The defending champion took exactly two hours to clinch a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the only moment of alarm coming in the second set when he dropped serve to trail 4-2.

But Nadal broke straight back and a run of four games in a row gave him the second set, with the third largely one-way traffic.

Nadal has played both his matches so far at night, when there is some respite from the searingly-hot conditions, although the humidity means temperatures have still been pushing 30C.

The world number one expects the level of tennis on show to go up as the temperature goes down, saying: "The good thing is I think things are going to improve the next couple of days.

"We'll be able to see, I think, better tennis than we saw the first couple of days of the US Open because playing under those conditions is, first thing, not healthy and, second thing, is not good for anybody: not good for the fans, not good for the players.

"The show is a little bit worse under these conditions."

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