Del Potro punches above his weight

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-08 09:52

Argentine upstart bounces Federer from US Open

NEW YORK - Juan Martin Del Potro soaked up the adulation of his supporters on Wednesday after defeating Roger Federer in their US Open quarterfinal to book a semifinal showdown against top-ranked Rafael Nadal.

Argentine Del Potro, seeded 28th, vanquished the 19-time Grand Slam champion 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 in Arthur Ashe Stadium, a court where Federer has dominated rivals for more than a decade.

"I think it's my home court too," Del Potro told the crowd. "You make me feel happy every time I play here, and I love your support."

Del Potro said he hopes to repeat his 2009 victory over Nadal when they clash on Friday.

"Against Rafa, hopefully I can repeat the result," Del Potro said. "I know against Rafa the crowd will be tough for me, but I hope they are cheering for me again.

"He's No 1 in the world, but with this amazing support, anything can happen."

Federer, who raced into the interview room after his loss, praised Del Potro.

"Juan Martin fought like a lion," said the Swiss superstar.

"I feel the way I'm playing right now is not good enough to win this tournament. It's better I'm out and somebody else gets a chance to win."

The ruined possible first-ever New York matchup between Federer and Nadal, which had been a focus headed into the Open, was an afterthought for Federer following his defeat.

"I didn't even think of it; I lost, so that match is not going to happen," Federer said. "I'm dealing with understanding what happened.

"It's a pity, but Juan Martin deserves it more."

Federer made 41 unforced errors, nine more than Del Porto, and his 60 winners were 12 more than his rival, whose blistering serves exacted a heavy toll.

"I served so good and I hit my forehands as hard as I can. We played a great match, but I deserved to win in the end," he said.

Del Potro has undergone four wrist surgeries since beating Federer eight years ago in the final. The Argentine rescued four set points in the third set tie-breaker.

"I think I got lucky," Del Potro said. "I made a double fault at 6-all and that cannot happen against Federer, but I got lucky. I made the good returns and in the fourth set I played even better.

"After all my injuries, I cannot believe I'm going to play another semifinal."

Federer was at a loss to explain his failure.

"It happens. It's hard to explain sometimes," Federer said.

"You do the right things and he does too and it matches up badly your way. I don't think I played badly; it just didn't go my way."

As for the four squandered set points in the tie-breaker, Federer said: "I don't think those four points made all the difference. I missed too many balls.

"He came up with the goods and I maybe helped him sometimes."

Federer said in some ways he wasn't disappointed because he knew his game was weaker than it looked, having been aided by playing three rivals in a row who are a combined 0-40 against him.

"It has been a tough tournament. I struggled," Federer said. "If I ran into a good guy I knew I was going to lose. And going in I knew I'm not in a safe place.

"I'm out of this tournament because I wasn't good enough in my mind, my body and my game."

The other semifinal features two men who have never been this far at any major: No 12 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain versus No 28 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

Agence France-presse

(China Daily 09/08/2017 page22)

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