Nadal elated at reaching US Open final

"It means everything for me to be back here in front of this crowd and playing for the US Open title," said the world number one after his semifinal win over Del Potro.

Rafael Nadal's win over Juan Martin Del Potro takes him to his career's 23rd Grandslam final.   -  Getty Images

Rafael Nadal had barely reached his third Grand Slam final of the year at the US Open on Friday when he showed how much the achievement meant to him.

"A lot," Nadal said. "It has been an amazing season after a couple of years with some troubles, injuries, tough moments.

"This year, since the beginning, has been an emotional year. It means everything for me to be back here in front of this crowd and playing for the US Open title."

The 31-year-old Spaniard defeated Argentine 24th seed Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 to book a date in Sunday's final against South African 28th seed Kevin Anderson.

Nadal won his 10th French Open and 15th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros after losing to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, a feat combined with his US Open run he would have doubted possible at the end of last year.

"It's almost impossible but here we are," Nadal said. "I do a lot of good work with my team. We believe in what we are doing. I still have the passion and the love for this game."

And the skill. Nadal is in three Slam finals in a year for the first time since 2011 and hopes to add to a New York trophy haul that includes 2010 and 2013.

He hasn't won multiple Slams in a season since 2013, but he did thump del Potro for his 15th consecutive Slam semi-final triumph, the last loss coming to del Potro in the South American's 2009 US Open championship run.

"Important day for me. Important victory against a great opponent," Nadal said. "I woke up today and said to myself, 'Today is the day that I'll play. I need to play with the right energy, and I need to increase the level of my game.'

"A lot of times I know that and it didn't happen, but today it happened."

Nadal said that sometimes the only way to get better is to win matches, victories

-Injury trouble-

Nadal has been nagged for years by knee injuries but enjoying a stellar season, already has a prize more treasured than another Grand Slam title -- a healthy campaign chasing them.

"For me, more than winning Grand Slams or not -- of course, if I win, I will be more happy -- but is about being healthy and feeling well and competitive," Nadal said. "That's already happened in the whole season. So that's the most important thing for me."

"What is more important, more than winning Slams, is to be happy," Nadal said. "I am happy if I am healthy and happy if I feel competitive most of the weeks I'm playing and that's what happened this year.

"I am very happy to win Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Roland Garros. I am very happy to be in the final here in the US Open... and I am going to fight to win another title here. But still, a great season for me."

-Claycourt season-

Few were better than his clay court run with two Spain titles, Monte Carlo and the capper at Roland Garros.

"Clay court season was unbelievable, so that helps a lot for my confidence, to be more calm and I'm here in the final," Nadal said. "It's a great result for me already. I will now face a very tough opponent, probably the most important match for me that remains this year, so I gonna try my best to play my best."

- On Anderson -

Now comes Anderson, a foe he has beaten all four times they have played in ATP matches but has known since their pre-teen junior days.

"He's a huge player with an unbelievable serve," Nadal said. "He plays unbelievable on this surface. He's able to play his best tennis in his career right now.

"It's going to be a tough one. I need to be playing at my best. I need to play at full energy and full motivation if I'm going to have my chances."