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Del Potro outlasts Federer to reach semifinals

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Roger Federer of Switzerland walks off the court after losing to Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during their 2017 US Open Men’s Singles quarter finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 6, 2017. DON EMMERT / AFP

Juan Martin De Potro played a great match to defeat third-seeded Roger Federer 7/5; 3/6; 7/6 (8); 6/4 to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal since 2013. While four Americans dominate the semifinals of the on-going U.S. Open Tennis Championship in the women’s event, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who will face Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, is the only non-Spanish speaking player in the semifinals, as top seeded Rafael Nadal dismissed his protégée Andrey Rublev of Russia 6/1; 6/2; 6/2.

The women’s semifinals will be played by four Americans: Venus Williams against Sloane Stephens, and Madison Keys against Coco Vandeweghe.

Tennis historians will have to go far back to find how long ago the final four emerged from the United States. Each of the four ladies defeated players (from the community of Europe), who had been predominant at Grand Slam events for over a decade.

In the opening serve of their match, Federer served directly to the forehand of Del Potro, who returned the ball into the net. It was followed by an ace and a drop shot that clinched the game. The ensuing match was determined by the canon ball serves of Del Potro and his blistering backhand shots slapped with ferocity and landing close to lines on all sides. This was the arsenal that clinched the first break in the 11th game of the frist set.

Federer started at 0-15 level and was up 30-15 but Del Potro fired a forehand winner to level 30-all. A double fault placed Federer in danger and his opponent drove a forehand passing shot for the break. Moments later, the Argentinean giant had the first set.

Federer broke Del Potro’s serve in the fourth game of the second set and overcame a double fault to win for 4-1. The set progressed routinely on short service games and ended 6-3 for Federer. Although Del Potro requested for a doctor, there was no treatment for him on court.

On resumption, he won the first game of the third set with a service winner. Federer lost his serve to concede a break in the second game and the lead was extended to 3-0. An exchange of games placed Del Potro in a 4-1 lead, although he made his first double fault of the match.
In the seventh game, Del Potro complained of noise by the partisan crowd that applauded missed first deliveries. Eventually, he conceded the break and Federer held serve to level four games apiece. In the deciding tie break, Federer had four set points but lost 10 points to eight.

In the fourth set, Federer faced break point at 30-40 in the fifth game and yelled a “Come on” when he won the point to deuce. Federer smashed a high ball but a second lob from Del Potro was netted and his opponent drilled a service return to clinch the game for 3-2 lead. Federer battled hard to win the ninth game during which Del Potro drilled a forehand passing shot straight at him at net and he had to dodge.

Del Potro was handed new balls as he stepped up to serve for the match. He went through his routine of blowing air on his racket hand. He won the first point on a forehand. He delivered an ace timed at 128 km/h for 30-0 but missed a volley to drop a point. On the fourth point of the game, Federer stayed in the long rally and elicited a forehand error to reach 30-all; a feat applauded for some moments.

On the next point, Federer charged the net and missed an easy volley when he sent the ball crosscourt beyond the baseline and his opponent had match point.

The umpire appealed to the crowd to be silent. Del Potro delivered a hard serve and followed with a forehand winner into a part of the court vacated by Federer, who was moving in the opposite direction.

Juan Martin De Potro had won the match that denied fans the anticipated hyped-up clash between Nadal and Federer. He will face Nadal, who he defeated in the semifinal en route to winning the title in 2009, thereby depriving Roger Federer of a straight sixth US Open.



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