Del Potro win breaks Federer dominance


Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:48

An Argentinian, David Nalbandian, was the last person to beat Federer in New York in the 2003 fourth round – and it was another who broke his subsequent 40-match winning streak.

The 20-year-old sixth seed, beaten six times in previous meetings by Federer, denied the world number one a third grand slam of the year with a 3-6 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium as the US Open stretched into a 15th day because of heavy rain over the weekend.

The victory in four hours and six minutes saw Federer prevented from becoming the first man since American Bill Tilden in the 1920s to win the tournament six times in a row, and it was his serve that proved his major failing.

Federer could only manage a 54% first service rate and delivered 11 double-faults as del Potro clocked up 37 forehand winners, while the five-time champion converted only five of 22 break-points.

It also completed a grand slam season in which Federer, 28, had begun the year in tears as he lost the Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal but then won a first French Open title and broke Pete Sampras’ record of all-time grand slam wins at Wimbledon with his 15th career title.

Both men had played wonderfully to win their semi-finals on Sunday, the champion defeating Novak Djokovic and del Potro demolishing Nadal.

But this was 20-year-old del Potro’s first grand slam final.

Any nerves the Argentinian might have had were not calmed by Federer’s aggressive start to the match, breaking del Potro in his first service game and looking imperious at 3-0 up.

He was unable to recover in the first set but hit back to take the second and fourth on tie-breaks to take the match into a fifth – and after an early break in the decider, Federer was unable to resist.


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.