In one of the must-see matches of the US Open 2017 championships, Juan Martin del Potro takes on Roger Federer in Wednesday night’s blockbuster quarterfinal at Arthur Ashe stadium. Todd Woodbridge, winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, previews the match between Team Europe star Federer and the ‘Tower of Tandil’ residing in Team World.
These two have played 21 times, six of those at Grand Slam level with Juan Martin del Potro famously winning as the underdog at the 2009 US Open. 19 Grand Slam singles champion Roger Federer leads this head to head 16-5.
Juan Martin del Potro: At 6’6 (198cm) del Potro uses his height to full advantage. He is not often talked about as a huge server yet it is one of his biggest weapons. The accuracy and power he generates sets up his next biggest weapon: the forehand. It is one of the best in game and ‘Delpo’ is one of the few players on tour who can hit clean winners against the game’s best defenders in Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Del Potro is not the greatest of movers but anticipation and court sense make up for that. He has played some of his best matches in Grand Slams and relishes the big stage. It was only 12 months ago, he won a silver medal for Argentina at the Rio Olympics after defeating Nadal and Djokovic.
Roger Federer: With the most complete all-round game in history, Federer – at this point of his career – has little to prove. 2017 is turning out to be one of his finest years. Confidence has never been an issue for the Swiss and he is playing as freely as he has ever done. Keep an eye out for Federer’s backhand – this year it has been a standout shot – particularly off the return. However, in the early rounds of the US Open, it’s been less convincing.
Del Potro is one of two players left in the US Open draw that Federer will really fear – the other being No.1 Nadal, a teammate in Prague but top rival in New York.
Del Potro could upset Federer if the Argentine dominates quickly with his forehand, to stop Federer from moving him around the court. So much will depend on Federer’s serve. There have been concerns with Federer’s fitness since the Montreal final and his serve and movement at times have been hindered. If he serves well, he can shut down del Potro, who is tasked with bouncing back from an epic match – and comeback – against Dominic Thiem in the Round of 16.
Set to be one of the highlights of the tournament, del Potro and Federer bring class and great ball striking to this encounter. Federer has a point to prove here to make up for the surprise loss in the US Open 2009 final, the only time he has ever lost to Juan Martin in Grand Slam tennis.
If history is anything to go by we are set for another classic match.