A historic semi-final match-up between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the US Open is in tatters after giant Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro carved out a stunning four-set win over Federer in the quarters.
Nadal did his part earlier in the day in attempting to set up a maiden New York meeting with Federer, wiping the court with Russia teenager Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, but del Potro had other ideas, prevailing 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 over the world No.3.
— 7Sport (@7Sport) September 7, 2017
Del Potro got his chance in the quarters via a stunning comeback against sixth seed Dominic Thiem in the fourth round, fighting back from two sets down to claim an epic victory.
Rather than feeling the pinch from that marathon effort, however, the 28-year-old dominated Federer with his big serving game and punishing forehand.
The pivotal period came in the third set tie-break, with del Potro saving four set points before pouncing on his opportunity to go up two sets to one.
The 198cm powerhouse won the US Open in 2009 but had not made it past the quarters since – until now.
Reaching just his fourth grand slam semi-final, the world No.28 – hampered by a succession of wrist injuries and an extended period off the tour – now faces another mountainous task against Nadal, but with renewed belief that he can beat the world’s best players.
After four wrist surgeries, time away from the tour, zero confidence, Juan Martin Del Potro showing anything is possible. Amazing. #USOpen
— Jake Davies (@jakedavi5) September 7, 2017
🇦🇷 Juan Martin del Potro 🇦🇷
First US Open SF since 2009 ☑️
First Grand Slam SF since 2013 ☑️
First man to beat Federer in a slam in 2017 ☑️ pic.twitter.com/xbUFRxi7dk
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) September 7, 2017