Juan Martin del Potro Beats Roger Federer, Prevents Federer-Nadal Semifinal
(September 6, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – From the day the draw was made, people looked forward to a possible semifinal match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the had yet to play each other at the US Open. Juan Martin del Potro spoiled a possible semifinal “Fedal” party when he took down Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 to reach the US Open semifinal, where he’ll face No. 1 Nadal.
Del Potro saved four set points against him in the third set tiebreak and needed only one of his own to take the set. He broke Federer’s serve the first chance he had in the fourth set and held on to take the match in 2-hours and 51-minutes.
“I didn’t think I played bad,” Federer said in his news conference. “You know, towards the end of the breakers, you know, I can do better maybe, sure, but I think the decisions that we both took, me serving, him returning, or whatever it may have been, you know, it just didn’t go my way.
“But I don’t think those four points make all of the difference. There was more to it that led to me being down two sets to one and being down two sets to one, and the break, I missed too many balls to keep me maybe ahead in the match or didn’t put me into so much trouble where I needed luck or I needed him to take poor decisions.
“You know, he came up with the goods when he needed to and I helped him a little bit sometimes too maybe. But he was better today, especially on the big points.”
“It’s been a tough tournament throughout,” admitted Federer. “I honestly was only thinking about tonight. My head didn’t even wander during the match. I knew it was going to be a tough one. I had struggled too much throughout the tournament to think too far ahead.
“In some ways I’m actually happy I made the quarters, so I’m not disappointed, because it’s been a good run this year already. Unfortunately I ran into a guy who was better than me today.”
“Juan Martin deserves it more. 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 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.”
“I think there’s definitely things, you know, that happened in the preparation and throughout the tournament that led to my performance today, because I can play much better but I can play worse, too.
“So it was one of those matches where if I ran into a good guy, I was going to lose, I felt. I don’t want to say I was in negative mindset, but I knew going in that I’m not in a safe place. Might have depended too much on my opponent, and I don’t like that feeling. I had it, you know, throughout the tournament, and I just felt that way every single match I went into.
“I didn’t have that feeling at Wimbledon or at the Australian Open, and that’s why rightfully so I’m out of this tournament, because I wasn’t good enough, in my mind, in my body, and in my game to overcome these three pillars.
“If you’re missing all three, it’s going to be tough. I’m okay with it, and I tried until the very end. And smashing certain stuff in the net that I normally wouldn’t, smashing forehand volleys into the back fence, I mean, that stuff sucked. You know, honestly, it was terrible.
“Juan Martin did well. He served well, had some big shots when he needed to. That was the part, that he did so much better tonight, and that’s why he deserves to win.”
Del Potro who has suffered on and off with wrist injuries. This is the first time since 2013, that the 2009 US Open champion has reached the final four of a major.
The Argentine barely survived the fourth round against Dominic Thiem, losing the first two sets, suffering with an illness. After getting some medical treatment towards the end of the second set, he was able to breathe better and stormed back to take the match to a fifth set and win. It was the most dramatic match of the tournament.
“I think I recovering well,” Del Potro said. “I did what the doctor says, all the treatments, and tonight I play just free. I don’t have nothing to lose against Federer, so I did my best game of the tournament tonight. I play very smart game during the whole match.
“Is so important to me beating him another time in this amazing tournament.”
“I played my best match of the tournament,” said Del Potro, innhis ESPN on-court interview with Tom Rinaldi. “I served well and hit my forehand as hard as I can. We played a great match and I think I deserved to win in the end.”
“I think it’s my home court,” Del Potro said of the crowd who serenaded him with soccer-type chants. “You make me so happy every time I play here. I love to see the crowd chanting for me.”
“Well, after tomorrow is gonna be a different match than the past,” Del Potro said about playing Nadal. “He’s the No. 1 player of the world, and he’s playing so confident this tournament.
“He’s a lefty guy, so he has chance to find easily my backhand. So I don’t know what’s gonna be my strategy for that match. But for sure I will try to make winners with my forehands and don’t run too much, because my legs are tired (smiling).
“But will be interesting match to play.”
“Well, I’m glad for him, because he deserve to be the No. 1 in the world. Personally, I like to play against him when I’m in good conditions. But it’s not the case at this moment, so I will see what happen.”