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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Roger Federer knocked out of US Open (See The Rookie The Defeated Him)




Roger Federer has finally lost a grand-slam match in 2017. His win-loss record in the majors this season may still stand at a remarkable 18-1, but Federer looked disgusted with himself as he came off the court after going down to Juan Martin del Potro by a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 margin.

This defeat clearly felt like a body blow, especially as it has once again frustrated the fans’ hopes of witnessing a first Federer-Nadal derby at the US Open. Six times, these two old rivals have stood one match away from meeting in New York. And six times they have been foiled.

Few gave Del Potro much of a chance in this quarter-final. He had sweated his way through the previous round in the most gruelling fashion, somehow finding the energy to come back from a two-set deficit against Dominic Thiem despite the handicap of flu symptoms.

The illness has still not cleared up completely, judging by the way Del Potro spent at least one of the changeovers coughing into a towel. But neither was Federer at his bewildering best.

Roger Federer knocked out of US Open (See The Rookie The Defeated Him)

There were a few chinks in the great man’s armour, after a tournament in which he has struggled with a cranky back. And Del Potro, roared on by so many Argentine fans that we could have been in one of the barrios of Buenos Aires, brought his heavy artillery to bear. He made fine use of his crunching serve, which reached a top speed of 132mph, and supplemented it with the bone-crushing forehand that remains one of the most lethal shots in the world game.

After the first two sets had been shared, the match turned in the third-set tie-break. Del Potro should really have been punished for serving a double-fault at 6-6. As he said later: “You can’t do that against Federer. But I was lucky.”

Yes, a bit lucky, because Federer held four set points, two of them on his own serve. But also skilful, because Del Potro came up with a series of deep and penetrative returns in order to escape from that tight corner and eventually claim the breaker by a 9-7 scoreline.

“He came up with the goods when he needed to,” said Federer afterwards. “And I helped him a little bit sometimes too maybe. But he was better today, especially on the big points.”

By the fourth set, Federer was scrabbling for purchase. He gave up another break, helping his opponent out with a rare botched smash into the net. Then, as the points ticked by inexorably, he had one final chance to halt Del Potro’s rush in what turned out to be the final game of the match.

As Del Potro served at 5-4, 30-30, Federer earned an opening for himself – a high forehand volley that he would have put away nine times out of 10. He blared it five yards long instead. Del Potro finished matters with yet another bone-crushing forehand winner on the very next point.





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