The much-awaited Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal semi-final did not fructify after the Wimbledon winner fell away in his quarter-final to Juan Martin del Potro.
This year’s US Open had been reeling from multiple fitness-related withdrawals but the one hope they might have pinned their fortunes on was probably a semi-final match-up between Federer and Nadal. Some had even criticised them for not splitting the pair in different halves but in the end, a match-up wasn’t meant to be.
Federer fought hard but he wasn’t at his best as he went down in four sets to Argentine and former winner del Potro. Egged on by his fans at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, del Potro went on to save four set-points in the third set to triumph in four.
Del Potro won 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 to set up a meeting with Nadal.
It was in the third set’s tie-breaker than things might have turned in favour of del Potro, after he saved those four set-points before wrapping it up. A break in the fourth set was all he needed to make the last four of the tournament he won in 2009.
Earlier, Nadal did not have any difficulty in beating Andrey Rublev in his quarter-final, dropping just five games in the process.
The Spaniard world number one has dropped two sets in the tournament, but both his previous two wins – against Alexandr Dolgopolov and against Rublev now – have been one-sided encounters.
It will be the 14th time that Nadal and del Potro will be facing off with the Spaniard having lost five times to the Argentine already – a clear indicator that it might not be a straightforward match for Nadal.
Speaking of the match-up against Nadal, del Potro said:
“He’s a lefty guy so he has chance to find easily my backhand. So I don’t know what’s gonna be my strategy for that match. But for sure I will try to make winners with my forehands and don’t run too much because my legs are tired.”
In the women’s singles quarter-finals that were played on the day, Coco Vandeweghe sent the top seeded Karolina Pliskova packing while Madison Keys dispatched Kaia Kanepi to make it an all-American semi-final line-up.
Venus Williams will take on Sloane Stephens while Vandeweghe faces Keys in the final four.