Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina has set up a semi-final clash with the World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, at the US Open 2017 on Friday. The Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin del Potro live streaming & predictions can be found below.
The Argentinean, who has been struggling with waves of injuries and inconsistencies over the course of last couple of seasons, has had a sensational run to make up for it at the Flushing Meadows over the last week.
In fact, given the way his 2017 season went, no one would have pegged for the 28 year old to move past the early rounds, let alone reach the final four. But now, he stands on the edge of writing history once again, with just one step closer to the second Grand Slam of his career.
The way del Potro has performed in this tournament has been nothing short of inspirational. He started off great with back to back straight set victories against the likes of Henri Laaksonen and Adrian Menendez-Maceiras.
It is after this round that things began to get quite interesting. He faced the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, whom he defeated in straight sets to meet the young Austrian Dominic Thiem in the fourth round. It was in this match that the World No. 28 faced the biggest challenge of his season yet.
It was a day like any other when he went up against Thiem on the Grandstand. However, he was battling illness as a result of which, he quickly lost the first two sets having won only two games.
With the odds now stacked against him, he staged what was quite possibly one of the greatest comebacks ever witnessed in the world of tennis. He rallied from two sets down to clinch the victory in a sensational thriller match with 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-4.
In fact, in the fourth set, he saved two match points against a relentless Thiem to meet Roger Federer in the quarterfinal.
It was evident that del Potro wasn’t going to go down without a fight. It was a deja vu from the 2009 US Open, when the 20 year old Argentinean defeated the Swiss to clinch his maiden and only Grand Slam title.
Eight years later, destiny brought them together again, only for the 24th seed to squash Federer’s dream of winning his third Grand Slam of the season. When he won the first set, it was evident that it was going to take a lot more for the Swiss to overcome his old adversary.
What people had feared was slowly coming true – they might not get to see a Federer – Nadal semifinal at the US Open. Instead, it was the Argentinean who was reliving his fairy tell from the 2009 run.
After two hours and 50 minutes on the Arthur Ashe, he finally achieved the impossible – he defeated the Swiss maestro 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4. Millions were heartbroken, yet, many rejoiced at the prospect of seeing a new face in the final few rounds.
While del Potro’s run has been so phenomenal, Nadal has had a pretty straightforward campaign here. In fact, del Potro will be the first seeded player he is set to play in the US Open this year.
So far, the Spaniard has taken on the likes of Dusan Lajovic, Taro Daniel and Andrey Rublev, whom he defeated with no major difficulties. Except for losing the first set in a couple of matches, he hasn’t faced any precarious situation as of yet.
But considering how his semifinal adversary has performed in the last 10 days, the World No. 1 needs to be on his guard.
He must remember very well that in the 2009 edition of the same tournament, he faced del Potro in the semifinal and ended up incurring one of the most severe losses in his career – 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. If del Potro is indeed reliving his glorious past and history is repeating itself, then Nadal needs to find a way to subdue him.
In the head to head record, Nadal leads 8-5 over Juan, but has lost their last two meetings. Both of those came on outdoor hard courts, which is somewhat a specialty for the Argentinean.
In fact, all of those five wins over Nadal came on outdoor hard courts. Their most recent encounter took place in the semifinal of the Brazil Olympics last year, where del Potro won in three sets.
But this being the final leg of the season, he is quite likely to be fatigued, just like his opponent. Moreover, it’s not going to be particularly easy for Nadal to counter the massive forehands from the the 6’6″ player, who now appears to be inspired and a formidable force.
Juan Martin del Potro came to the Flushing Meadows with a record of 18-11, but is quite likely to leave with a rise in the rankings and possibly, the title itself.
This is going to be a great match to see, one that is bound to be spoken about for seasons to come.
Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin del Potro Tips:
Over 36.5 Games in the Match
Nadal to win