Federer outclasses del Potro
Originally published on: 24/01/12 11:01
Just when you thought Roger Federer would be truly tested, just when Juan Martin del Potro appeared to be returning to his US Open-winning best; the Fed Express cranks up a gear and mows down the towering obstacle that had dared to venture onto his track.
It took a mere hour and 59 minutes for the Swiss to dismantle del Potro 6-4 6-3 6-2 – a far cry from their four-hour-six-minute battle at Flushing Meadows in 2009 – and the encounter portrayed Federer in a more ominous light than ever.
“I’m moving well. I’m serving well. I’m hitting the ball clean,” he said. “Today I thought, you know, in a very hot day with fast conditions I was able to control the ball.”
While he continues to master the court astonishingly well for a player supposedly past his peak at 30, both the numbers and the milestones continue to head skywards.
This was his 31st consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, not to mention his 1000th career match, but still that’s not enough for Federer to think about laying his Wilson to rest.
“Well, 1000 matches, not 1000 wins. Big difference,” the ever-hungry world No.3 noted with a smile after being asked what the milestone meant to him.
“I wish it was 1000 wins, but I’m happy with 1000 matches in total too. It’s nice to win this one. I mean, eventually I will forget which one was my 1000th match and someone will remind me again.
“I do not remember my 500 – and that was the US Open final against Agassi. No bigger matches than those ones!
“But it’s a big milestone I agree – a lot of matches and a lot of tennis. Either I have been around for a long time or I’m extremely fit. You decide which way you want to describe it. I don’t know. But I’m happy.”
Particulary jovial on the biggest stage, Federer is keen for a 27th bout with rival Rafael Nadal, having succumbed to his emotions when the Spaniard triumphed in five sets in their only other meeting in Melbourne in the 2009 final.
“It’s another great match with Rafa potentially, but he’s got a tough ask with Berdych first,” said the 30-year-old of the Mallorcan’s quarter-final against the powerful Czech.
“Obviously I’d like to play Rafa because of our great epic match earlier in the finals here a few years ago. I’d like to get a chance to play him again here.”
Nadal has edged their last four Grand Slam battles but if current form is anything to go by, the Swiss will be considered odds on for a spot in the showpiece finale.
Watch this space.
Roger Federer is featured in the January 2012 issue of tennishead magazine. Pick up a copy or click here for more information about how to subscribe.