Juan Martin Del Potro Stuns Roger Federer for His First Grand Slam Win at the US Open
Juan Martin Del Potro beat Roger Federer for his first grand slam title at the US Open. How did he do this? Was it the quality of his play that won the match, or did Federer miss an opportunity to take his 16th grand slam title?
Federer was in command of the match after winning the first set and going up a break in the second. The first sign of mental let up that I noticed was when Roger had a chance to close out the first set with a break—up 40-love on Del Potro’s serve. Serving first in the second set would have been an advantage for Roger. He lost this game because he didn’t seem to “keep the pedal to the medal.”
It takes a lot of concentration to keep the pressure on your opponent. Roger regained his focus by serving out the first set. Then he had a chance to serve out the second for a two sets to love lead. This may have been “match” because I couldn’t see Del Potro winning three straight sets from that point.
Roger was up 5-4 30-15 on his serve in the second set when he had an easy short forehand to potentially get to set point at 40-15. Instead of attacking the weak return from Del Potro, Roger came up and tried a forehand drop shot. Not a good choice of shots at that point in the match. Del Potro got to the ball easily and lobbed it over Roger’s head for 30-30.
Then Roger made two more critical errors to let the potential two set to love lead slip away. He worked the 30-30 point nicely, but I felt he tried to end the point too quickly by coming into the net. You want to end at the net, but you have to work the point until you have an easy volley. Roger gave Del Potro a target by coming in too early. This also challenged Del Potro to come up with a great shot, which he did by hitting the passing shot down the line.
Roger repeated the mistake a second time on break point when he came into the net prematurely and got passed down the line again. He basically handed the game to Del Potro. I realize it’s tough to work the point to perfection when you’re nervous and feeling pressure. But that’s why you practice under simulated pressure situations. If Roger had just closed on the net after his untimely approaches, he may have been in position to get the down the line passes.
To me that was the turning point in the match—a little bit of nerves and the failure to get tight on the net. You have to hand it to Del Potro because he hung in just long enough to get the break that he needed. He went on to win the second set tie-break. He had a let down in the third set, but he was able to hang in once again for a fourth set tie-break win.
The fifth set showed the true ability of Juan Martin Del Potro. He didn't give Roger a chance by hitting the big forehand relentlessly. Del Potro deserved the win and hopefully he can keep up that level in future grand slams. This young top ten player is good for the game.
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