DEL POTRO TAKES DOWN FEDERER TO SET UP 2017 U.S. OPEN TENNIS SEMIFINAL MEETING WITH NADAL

Written by: on 7th September 2017
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USA TENNIS US OPEN 2017
DEL POTRO TAKES DOWN FEDERER TO SET UP 2017 U.S. OPEN TENNIS SEMIFINAL MEETING WITH NADAL

epa06189011 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina celebrates after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in four sets during their US Open Tennis Championships quarterfinals round match at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 06 September 2017. The US Open runs through September 10. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO  |

By Ricky Dimon

 

There will be a blockbuster U.S. Open semifinal on Friday. It just won’t be the one people expected.

 

Juan Martin Del Potro prevented the first-ever Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer showdown in New York by upsetting the Swiss 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 during quarterfinal action on Wednesday night. Del Potro fought off four set points in the third set and seize control early in the fourth before prevailing in two hours and 50 minutes.

 

The Argentine broke serve once in the opening set and Federer did the same in the second. That set the stage for a far less straightforward third, which proved to be the turning point of the contest.

 

Del Potro led by a break only to see Federer get it back and force a tiebreaker. At that point it was the 36-year-old’s turn to play from ahead, but he failed to convert set points at 6-4, 6-5, 7-6, and 8-7–two of which came on his own serve. Del Potro capitalized on his first chance at 9-8 by forcing Federer into a volley error with a stellar backhand return.

 

The 2009 U.S. Open champion earned the lone break of set four with a clean backhand return winner at 2-2, ad-out. It was all but over from there, as Del Potro held serve easily the rest of the way.

 

“I have nothing to lose against Federer, so I did my best game of the tournament tonight,” the world No. 28 explained. “I played very smart game during the whole match. (It) is so important to me beating him another time in this amazing tournament.”

 

“I don’t think those four points make all of the difference,” Federer said of the third-set tiebreaker. “There was more to it that led to me being down two sets to one and the break. I missed too many balls to keep me ahead in the match. He came up with the goods when he needed to and I helped him a little bit sometimes, too. But he was better today, especially on the big points.”

 

Interestingly, the 19-time Grand Slam champion added that Del Potro will have a better chance against Nadal than he would have had. Both men have losing records against the Spaniard, but included in Del Potro’s 5-9 mark is a 5-4 record on hard courts.

 

“When he’s playing well, it’s difficult to stop him,” Nadal said of Del Potro. “Probably the forehand is maybe the fastest on the tour. If he [is serving] well and [hitting] well his forehand, he’s a player that [has] the chance to win against, of course, everybody. I have to play my best tennis. I need to be very focused with my serve and play aggressive, because if you let him play from good positions with his forehand, you are dead.”

 

That’s what Nadal was in the 2009 U.S. Open semis, in which Del Potro dominated 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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