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Tennis Channel Court Report breaks down Day 11 at the U.S. Open, where CoCo Vandeweghe and Madison Keys joined Venus Williams and Sloan Stephens in the semifinals.
USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK  — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have never played each other at the U.S. Open and, at least for now, that fact won’t be changing.

The two greats, who have squared off on 37 occasions during their career, were on a semifinal collision course for a 38th showdown in New York, but it required cooperation from both players.

World No. 1 Nadal, who all tournament long made note that he’d prefer not to play Federer in the semifinals, did his part to make the match happen. On Wednesday afternoon,Nadal offered a stinging 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 tennis lesson to 19-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev.

Most of Nadal’s post-match press conference was questions regarding the potential matchup with Federer, but those queries turned out to be premature.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 24th-seeded Argentine who was clearly suffering from a cold the last couple of days, wasn’t concerned with the supposed dream semifinal. He came to play and outplayed Federer for a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 quarterfinal victory Wednesday night.

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VANDEWEGHE: Ousts top-ranked Pliskova to reach semis

“I didn’t even think about it, as I lost that match, that it’s (the semifinal with Nadal) not going to happen,” Federer said. “I’m dealing with just trying to understand what happened and just to overcome this in the next few hours, days, weeks, whatever it is. I’ll be fine.”

“Of course it is a pity, but, you know, Juan Martin deserves it more,” Federer added. “I feel I have no place in the semis and he will have a better chance to beat Rafa, to be honest. The way I played or am playing right now, it’s not good enough in my opinion to win this tournament. It’s better I’m out and somebody else gets a chance to do better than me.”

It was not the first monumental match del Potro has won against Federer at the U.S. Open. In 2009, the last time they played at this tournament, del Potro  won a five-set final thriller over Federer to capture his lone Grand…