Juan Martin del Potro stunned Roger Federer in four sets to reach the US Open semi-finals for the first time since 2009 when he went on to win the top prize.
The 6’ 6” Argentine, who in the previous round rallied from two sets and two match points down to beat Dominic Thiem, defeated 19-time Grand Slam winner Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8) 6-4. Del Potro saved four set points in the pivotal third-set tie-break.
“I played my best match of the tournament,” del Potro said during his on-court interview.
“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.”
Asked about the vociferous crowd support, del Potro said, “I think it’s my home court. You make me so happy every time I play here. I love to see the crowd chanting for me.
Prior to the match on Wednesday, del Potro had only defeated Federer on one occasion in their previous six Grand Slam meeting. That victory came in the finals of the US Open in 2009, his only Grand Slam triumph till date.
“I can’t believe I will play in the semi-finals again after all my injuries, after all my surgeries. Especially to play here in New York, my favourite tournament” del Potro added.
Del Potro’s victory means Federer and Nadal will have to wait another year to see if they will eventually get to thrill fans at Flushing Meadow before calling it quits on the lovely game. It is the sixth time the pair have been one match away from meeting in New York.
Federer praised del Potro and said that he deserved the victory.
Federer had this to say about del Potro – “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.
Federer said that he was disappointed he could not produce his best performance during the US Open but that he was not consumed by the missed opportunity to play for the World No. 1 title in the semis against Nadal.
“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.”
Wednesday’s result denied Federer the chance to dethrone Nadal as World No. 1 and the opportunity to win a 20th Grand Slam title after earlier triumphs this year at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
This is the only loss Roger Federer has suffered in a Grand Slam tournament this year.
del Potro will now face top seed Rafael Nadal, who earlier beat Russian teenager Andrey Rublev.