ATP Tennis 360

September 15, 2009 8:59 PM

Honour to Del Potro

The Goat (or what many considers as the Goat) lost to the best of his generation, beaten in the previous 6 meetings (also if he went two sets up at the 2009 Roland Garros with 2 hours and a half of incredible tennis).

Federer-Del potro was not the most thrilling of the Grand Slam final, the game quality was complessively a bit more than decent; but surely it has been the best Us Open final since 1999 when Agassi surprised Martin coming back from 2 sets to 1 down (the last concluded with a five setter before the yesterday's clash). This was anyway the most surprising final since 2000, when another first-timer, Safin, stunned Pete Sampras. So Del Potro, 20 years and 355 days old, has become the fifth youngest player to win this tournament

Roger Federer lost a great chance. For 90 minutes he played almost perfectly, also if not in the enchanting and intriguing way he defeated Djokovic in the

semifinals. But incredibly the Swiss went out from the match at 5-4 30-0 in the second set. He was nervous for an ace not validated because Del Potro, ready

to return, complained that he was disturbed by something not better defined while Federer was launching the ball. And then, when an astonishing down-the-line

passing shot bounced on the line, Federer claimed the ball was out but the Hawk Eye confirmed the umpire decision.

From there Roger has never been the same, and the match developed very similarly to the recent Australian Open final. Del Potro started hitting his proverbial

forehands with stubborness and precision, he "drew the lines" more and more. It was surprising how often the Palito went hitting his forehands on the

backhands side and how many kilometres he ran to cover the court. Palito from the secon set displayed all his full force groundstrokes that overpowered Nadal

and definitely abandoned the shackles affecting him in the first set.

DP served not so well (even if he concluded with the 65% of first serves), because he handed 22 break points, saving 17 of them. Federer was conditioned by

the only 13 aces, by the less than 50% of points on his second serve and above all by the 11 double faults. But in the third Federer gave a glimpse of what inexperience could do when DP gifted the Swiss two consecutive breaks because of two bleeding double faults in a row. As had been the case in 2005 (vs. Roddick) and ’06 (vs. Agassi) US Open finals, upon losing the second set Federer had hit back to regain the lead.

The World No. 6 defied his heavy legs to continue to work Federer and was rewarded with a break of serve to love in the fifth game and, in the fourth set tiebreak was gifted an early mini-break by a Federer double fault and did not look back. A bit off topic: Federer had yet to lose a tiebreak in a Grand Slam final before facing del Potro, and was 166-4 in career when he wins first sets.

But Federer continued to lose chances on break points, in what revealed to be his Achilles heel against Nadal and against the Argentine and costed him dearly. While Del Potro, in what would be his last service game of the final, showed no signs of nerves holding to love. In the end Roger handed him two match points he saved before serving the 11th double fault of his match and seeing the last backhand flow long.

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