Juan Martin Del Potro Tops John Isner to Return to US Open Semifinal
(September 4, 2018) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 3 seed and 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro is back in the semifinals of the US Open. Del Potro battled past 11th seed, American John Isner in 3 hours and 31 minutes in a very hot and humid Arthur Ashe Stadium.
It’s the Argentine’s sixth major semifinal and second on the year. He also reached the final four at the French Open.
The first set came down to one missed point in tiebreak which went against serve, which went to Isner 7-6(5).
In the second set, the Argentine got the first break of serve in the match in the fourth game and held his serve the rest of the way to level the match at 6-7, 6-3.
The third set went to a tiebreak which the 29-year-old del Potro won 7-4. The No. 3 seed had 14 winners to 4 unforced errors.
The 2009 winner broke serve early in the fourth set to go up 2-0 and a hold for 3-0. Del Potro broke in the eighth game to seal the match 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 to get back to the US Open final four.
“I think I played very solid this game,” said del Potro. “In particular I made good returns every service games. I had a lot of chances to break. I did couple of times during the game. I think I play on a smart game today. I saw John a little bit tired also. That’s give me a little bit more energy to keep trying.
“I played a good match. I don’t know if I’m playing my best tennis ever, but I’m feeling good. I reach another semifinals in this Grand Slam, which means something big to me. I’m very happy for that.”
“It’s tricky conditions for the players, for the fans, for my friends who drinks beers,” the Argentine said with a big smile. “They have a dangerous conditions. But they having fun. I think they are respectful watching this event. They create a good atmosphere for the fans, too.
“I think it’s not easy to play under this weather, but it’s the same thing for all players. You have to deal with the preparation and the heat. But I did little bit better than John, and now I have enough time to recover myself.”
For the 33-year-old Isner, he was trying to be the first US man to reach the final four of the US Open since Andy did it in 2006. Isner did reach his first major semifinal at Wimbledon, where he lost to Kevin Anderson.
“It’s tough conditions out there, no doubt,” said Isner. “It’s very humid I think just in that center court. Air is pretty still for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the roof structure. It’s pretty humid and takes its toll on us players, myself, and I think Juan.
“But I think all in all, he probably handled it a little bit better. It definitely is tough conditions, but I wish I could have done a little bit better out there. It just wasn’t to be. Look, he’s so good. It was a tough match.”
“He’s such a tough player and he’s playing well and he likes these conditions. He likes playing on a hard court like this. Yeah, I mean, again, when he gets control of the point, it’s very tough to wrest it back from him. Yeah, that’s what he does so well, and I think he’s exhibited that throughout this whole tournament. He’s been playing very well.
Isner and his wife Maddie are expecting a daughter around September 22, so he will not be playing in the Davis Cup semifinal in Croatia for the United States.
“This is gonna be life-changing for myself and Maddie and something that we’re very excited about. I’m sure I’m going to learn as I go. I’m going to screw up a lot of things at first, and Maddie will probably get mad at me.”
“Right now that this tournament is over, my focus is just getting back home and being with her and seeing everything through. So that’s definitely some of the most important days of my life are coming up.”
Before his news conference, Isner received the US Open Sportsmanship award.
“It’s a great honor. I’m very glad they presented me with that. It’s a huge honor. I’m very appreciative of that. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect to receive a trophy after losing in the quarterfinals, but I got that.
“That’s something that, you know, this sport is tough, so, you know, it’s so easy to get very frustrated out there on the court when things aren’t going your way. It’s a one-on-one sport. You’re on an island out there, a lot of people watching you. I guess to keep your cool and be a good sport is very important. It’s what, you know, the young kids look up to. So for them to give me that award, I’m very appreciative of that.
The 2009 champion Del Potro will face either No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal or No. 9 Dominic Thiem in the semifinals. Nadal defeated del Potro last year in the semifinals and again this year in the semifinals of the Rolland Garros.
“If I play Rafa, it could be another big battle as the Wimbledon match was,” said the winner. “Of course, I like to play always with the No. 1 of the world, doesn’t matter the tournament or the conditions or the weather. I just have the chance to play the greatest on this sport, and it’s amazing for me.
“If I play Dominic, it could be a different match, but also difficult one. He’s playing good. If he beats Rafa, that will be confidence for him on his game, and it will be a big problem for me.”
“Last year in the fourth round, del Potro rallied from two sets and a break down to beat Thiem. “It was one of my epics match in my career,” he said. “I was two set down, playing bad tennis. Then I come back and I did a big effort to survive in the fourth. Then in the fifth, I got too much energy from the crowd, and they makes me played an unbelievable tennis in the end.”
“It could be a new epic match if I play him on Friday. But if I play Rafa, I would like to do same thing that I did in Wimbledon. I was close to beat him. But he’s the No. 1 in the end. I will try to enjoy the semifinal, as well.”
“Well, I’m very happy for my level, for what all has been through to get in this position now. I think it doesn’t matter the final result in the tournament. I just enjoying playing tennis again. I’m enjoying a lot the crowds like this. I like to play big battles with other guys. That’s makes me feels alive again.
“After all my problems, I think it’s time to celebrate these kind of things. I love this sport. I love the competition. I’m very proud to be here again.”