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Del Potro lines up fourth shot at Feds

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Originally published on: 15/03/12 10:04

If Juan Martin del Potro continues to draw Roger Federer as frequently as he has done so far in 2012, surely the odds will find favour with the former US Open champion in the end. Not since the 2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has the 6’5” Argentine found a way past the world No.3, but after three defeats to Federer already this season – in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, the final in Rotterdam and the semi-finals in Dubai – he’ll now have another chance to upset the 16-time Grand Slam champion in Indian Wells. 

Del Potro had to dig deep to see off Denis Istomin 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 6-2 in two hours and 45 minutes to reach the final eight in the Californian desert for the second straight year, but despite winning just two of his 12 career clashes with Federer, the 22-year-old from Tandil might see their latest fixture as a chance to strike. 

Federer has been made to work hard in pursuit of his fourth title at the BNP Paribas Open. A champion from 2004-2006, the Swiss was truly tested by 21-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic but “weathered the storm” to reach the fourth round, where he was taken to three sets again before ultimately beating Thomaz Belllucci 3-6 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 41 minutes.

“I really struggled to make the transition [from the Raonic match]. I was quite surprised, but at the end I found a way, dug deep and came through,” said Federer. “It’s really important. At the end of the day, these are the wins that sort of almost feel better, to be quite honest, because when you’re playing great, it’s simple, and it’s easy.” 

Will del Potro, now back up to No.9 in the world, prove easy pickings again? The Swiss has now won 36 of his last 38 matches, but del Potro has 19 wins to his name this season and only one defeat – to Marcos Baghdatis – outside of his three losses to Federer.

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