Federer wants to set the record straight
Swiss great meets del Potro in last eight, a repeat of the 2009 final which he feels he shouldn't have lost
Eight years after losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open final, Roger Federer locks horns again with the giant Argentine in New York today still convinced he should have won the match which ended his five-year reign as champion.
Del Potro was just 20 years old when he downed the Swiss legend 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, but Federer believes that he was the dominant force in that 2009 showdown.
"The only time when he was really better, in my opinion, was the fifth set. Obviously, that was good enough to beat me that day," said Federer, after beating German 33rd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to set up the quarter-final clash with del Potro today.
"I felt like that I left that match with a lot of regrets.
"Probably feels like one of those matches I would like to play over again.
"Feel like I would probably win it somehow because I should have been up maybe two sets to love."
Federer leads del Potro 16-5 in their head-to-head record, although his win in Miami this year represented the first time the pair had met in four years.
Despite his disappointment at losing the 2009 championship match, Federer admitted that having also defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, del Potro was overall a worthy winner.
Federer had already won the French Open, to complete the career Grand Slam in 2009, before going on to to win a sixth Wimbledon title.
He also became a father for the first time that year.
"Making the final here was actually a good run. But it ended my five-year reign in New York," said Federer.
The 36-year-old Swiss maestro believes that had del Potro remained fit, he could have become world No. 1 after that US Open breakthrough in 2009.
For del Potro, beating Federer should have meant he had the world at his feet.
“I know how to play if I want to win, but it’s always a pleasure to play the greatest guy in history.”Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro on his quarter-final clash with Roger Federer
Sadly, it was his wrists which proved the problem as he went on to undergo four surgeries.
After his 2009 triumph, he missed a total of 10 Grand Slam tournaments.
At one stage last year, his world ranking, once as high as No. 4 in the world, slumped to 1,045th and he even considered retiring.
Federer said that he was happy to see the likeable del Potro back on Tour and the feeling is mutual.
"I admire him, too. Everybody loves him," said 24th seed del Potro. "It's going to be an interesting match to play.
"It will be the first time after eight years again on the centre court of this tournament.
"I know how to play if I want to win, but it's always a pleasure to play the greatest guy in history."
Now the 28-year-old hopes to recover in time for today's clash, having needed to save two match-points to defeat Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 in the fourth round yesterday morning.
Del Potro admitted that he was ready to quit when it seemed Thiem would win in a rout but, as his will faded, he found courage from supporters wearing Argentina football jerseys and chanting "Ole, Ole, Ole", creating a Davis Cup-like atmosphere.
"I was sick the last two days," del Potro told the crowd.
"I was thinking of retiring in the middle of the second set because I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move well.
"Dominic was dominating the match so easy.
"But, when we started the third set, I broke his serve very quickly, and then I won the set in 20 minutes.
"I started to see the crowd. I took all the energy from the fans. That's what I did in the end, just keep fighting." - AFP
Men's singles 4th rd
- Rafael Nadal (x1) bt Aleksandr Dolgopolov 6-2, 6-4, 6-1
- Roger Federer (x3) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (x33) 6-4, 6-2, 7-5
- Juan Martin del Potro (x24) bt Dominic Thiem (x6) 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4
- Andrey Rublev bt David Goffin (x9) 7-5, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Women's singles 4th rd
- Karolina Pliskova (x1) bt Jennifer Brady 6-1, 6-0
- Madison Keys (x15) bt Elina Svitolina (x4) 7-6 (7/2), 1-6, 6-4
- Coco Vandeweghe (x20) bt Lucie Safarova 6-4, 7-6 (7/2)
- Kaia Kanepi bt Darya Kasatkina 6-4, 6-4