It took Juan Martin Del Potro four hours and six minutes of hard labor to win his first career Grand Slam champion at the US Open. It was well worth the wait.
In perhaps the best men’s final ever played in the cavernous Arthur Ashe stadium, the underdog Del Potro stunned world No. 1 and five-time US Open champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 to capture his first career Slam title and become the tallest winner of a Major in the Open Era.
“It’s difficult to explain this moment,” said the 6-foot-6 Del Potro. “You know, since young I dream with this and take trophy with me. You know, I did my dream, and it’s unbelievable moment. It’s amazing match, amazing people. Everything is perfect. I don’t know, I can’t believe.”
The 20-year-old Del Potro becomes the first Argentine player since Guillermo Vilas in 1977 to win in Flushing Meadows, and in doing so he ended Federer’s 40-match US Open win streak.
The question of Del Potro’s ability was never an issue, but there were doubts over his fitness, mental toughness and composure. Those questions were more than answered Monday evening in the rain-delayed final.
Del Potro also is the first player to ever beat Rafael Nadal and Federer in the same Grand Slam. Del Potro handed Nadal, the No. 3 seed, the worst loss of his Grand Slam career with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 thumping Sunday afternoon.
“Of course I will be in the history of this tournament,” said Del Potro. “That’s amazing for me. I have new opportunities in the other Grand Slams to win, because if I did here, if I beat Nadal, Federer and many good players, maybe I can do one more time. But of course, will be difficult, because I was so close to lose today.”
Del Potro smacked 37 forehand winners, 57 overall to go with 8 aces. While Federer hit his share of aces but served just 50% on his first delivery and a had high of 11 doubles faults.
“I got off to a pretty good start, and had things under control as well in the second set,” said Federer. ” I think that one cost me the match eventually. But I had many chances before that to make the difference. So it was tough luck today, but I you thought Juan Martin played great. I thought he hung in there and gave himself chances, and in the end was the better man.”
The 4-hour, 6-minute marathon was the second longest final in US Open history after the 4:54 masterpiece in 1980 when John McEnroe beat Bjorn Borg.
At 20, Del Potro is already ahead of his contemporaries Andy Murray, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Grand Slam title count. He will rise to No. 5 in the new ATP rankings.
“Well, I think everything is to learn about this match,” DelPo added. “I have many things to improve to be better. Of course I would like to be in top 4, top 3, or top 1 in the future. But I have to play like today many, many weeks in the year. If I still working and still going in the same way, maybe in the future I can do.”
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