Amid the much anticipated Federer-Nadal duel in the Flushing Meadows for the first time in US Open history, Argentinian 24th seed Juan Martin del Potro stunned Roger Federer in the quarterfinal round of the tournament to book semis date with Rafael Nadal.
Kevin Anderson became the first South African in 52 years to reach the US Open final on Saturday, downing Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal, the No. 1 seed, has heard his share of “Ole” renditions in his storied career.
Del Potro had also crushed Nadal in straight sets in the semi-finals.
When the final major of the season is in the books, Anderson will be ranked No. 15 at worst.
After keeping the ball away from del Potro’s forehand in the opening set, Nadal switched up his tactics in the second, challenging the Argentine’s best weapon and running him corner to corner.
Fans of the sport hoped that this year, two of the world’s best would finally face off at Flushing Meadow in NY.
This is the sixth time Federer and Nadal have come within one match of meeting in NY but the missed opportunity was not uppermost in Federer’s mind. “But here we are”.
The Del Potro forehand is among the biggest weapons in the game but his backhand, which has been hampered in recent years after four wrist surgeries, held up superbly. Nadal pounced on a break point in the second game of the second set and kept del Potro in a painful vice.
But not this night, not at this tournament, where the del Potro devotees have carried him through the flu, over a fever and back from a two-set deficit in the fourth round.
Following a competitive first set, the match was shaping up to be a dramatic back-and-forth affair.
On the other hand, Del Potro claims to not be in “good condition”. “I knew it was going to be a tough one”.
“I also have no idea how I have done it. just hard work”.
“I feel like I’m just being a bit more patient with myself”. The Spaniard is yet to drop a set this tournament, so he deserves his spot in his first ever major semi-final. Nadal admits that “Juan Martin is a top player”.
The world No. 1 was playing like a man who had a point to prove, and perhaps he did. Sure, her win would have sullied the storyline of the all-American semifinal, but fans would have embraced the subplot of Kvitova’s comeback from a horrific injury in lieu of a Williams win. Despite a 4-0 winning record over Anderson, he said he will not underestimate his opponent on Sunday.
Three of the last four encounters have seen the victor of the first set fail to win another so such a big price for a repeat is simply too tempting to turn down. That’s how del Potro won the 2009 Open (and how Djokovic won the 2011 Open).
This is the sixth time in which they were one game away from playing each other in NY.
The 6-foot-8 giant nimbly climbed up in to the player’s box to celebrate with his coach, wife and various other friends and supporters.
Nadal celebrates advancing to his first US Open final since 2013.
“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”.