Juan Martin del Potro is luck to still be in the US Open. Fighting a virus, the Argentine was out of strength early on in his encounter yesterday with Dominic Theim in the fourth round. But the crowd pulled him through, helped him save two match points and take a 5-set comeback win.
The fans were so loud even Roger Federer heard the noise from Ashe Stadium,
“We could even hear it on center court,” Federer said. “That’s the first time I experienced that. Clearly Grandstand wasn’t where it used to be. But, I mean, they had epic crowds.”
Both guys now meet in the quarterfinals Wednesday night in a rematch of their 2009 US Open final. Federer leads 16-5 and won their only meeting in the last four years in Miami, but del Potro is looking forward to the challenge.
“Everybody loves him,” del Potro said of the Swiss. “Is going to be interesting match for play. It will be after eight years again in the central court of this tournament. I know how to play if I want to win, but I will see how physically I feel after this battle.
“But always is a pleasure to play the greatest guy on the history.”
Added Federer on the 2009 match, “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 or should have been up two sets to one. I don’t remember if I was.”
But now, eight years later, it’s different.
“I think we’re different players today,” Federer said. “We both play different. Because of his surgery, I think his backhand has changed. He uses his slice much more. Just alone because of that, the game would be different. I’m playing more aggressive, as well, on the return. I play shorter points. I don’t use my slice as much, whereas he does now. It’s a bit of a change.”
Since he’s return to tennis full time last year, del Potro’s already posted wins over Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori. Will he also add Federer to the list?
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