Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to reach US Open final

Novak Djokovic moved closer to equalling Pete Sampras's tally of 14 Grand Slams after outclassing Kei Nishikori to reach the US Open final.

Serbia's Djokovic beat the Japanese 21st seed 6-3 6-4 6-2 to set up a meeting with Juan Martin del Potro.

Djokovic and Argentine Del Potro, who advanced when Rafael Nadal retired injured from their semi-final, meet in the final on Sunday at 21:00 BST.

"I came out of the blocks with great intensity and focus," said Djokovic.

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.

If he beats Del Potro to equal Sampras, only Roger Federer (20) and Nadal (17) stand above him in the all-time list.

Sixth seed Djokovic, a two-time champion at Flushing Meadows, will compete in his eighth US Open final - equalling the record of Sampras and Ivan Lendl.

Djokovic, who suffered with personal and injury problems during 2017 and the early part of this year, looked back to his best at Wimbledon and has continued that form at Flushing Meadows.

Although he has struggled with the heat and humidity at times, there were no such problems as he looked energetic in cooler conditions during Friday's night-time semi-final.

The 2011 and 2015 champion suffocated Nishikori with his deep returning, controlling the points and rarely allowing his opponent to drag him into long rallies.

Djokovic's level rarely dropped throughout a two-and-a-half hour victory, the only slight concern being his inability to convert the plethora of break points which came his way.

Djokovic only took one of five in the first set and missed another four in the first game of the second set.

But his patience was eventually rewarded at a fourth opportunity in the fifth game, and he then broke twice more in a much simpler third set.

Djokovic has not dropped a set since his second-round win against American Tennys Sangren.

Nishikori, 28, was aiming to become the second Japanese player to reach a US Open final at this year's tournament, following 20-year-old Naomi Osaka's semi-final triumph over American Madison Keys on Thursday.

While Osaka will face her idol Serena Williams in her first major final on Saturday, Nishikori will have to wait for another chance to play in his second.

The 2014 US Open runner-up could not be faulted for his endeavour, but was powerless to stop his thumping groundstrokes continually being put back into play by Djokovic.

More success came Nishikori's way when he was able to move into the net, particularly in the second set when he conjured up two break points.

However, he was unable to take either and wilted as Djokovic went on to take his second match point with a stunning retrieving backhand down the line.

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