Tuesday afternoon on Court Suzanne Lenglen saw the tall and hard hitting Argentine pounce on the Swiss maestro early and with relentless play. Juan Martin Del Potro brought his physical prowness and comfort on clay to break Federer twice in the first set, taking it 6-3. The second set brought resistance from the Swiss, who broke decisively only to be broken back in a strange service game. Federer struggled on his serve for most of the match, and the match neared a virtual ending in a second set tiebreak. While the Swiss dug deep and showed plenty of frustration, it was Del Potro who stole the tiebreaker and took a two sets to love lead.
With his work cut out, Federer roared back. He raised his game and wore out Del Potro, who began to struggle with his heavily strapped knee. Seizing his opportunities, the Swiss reversed the roles and fought back diligently to win the third set 6-2. From there, he lost only 8 points to speed through at love in the fourth set, where he hit 13 winners and had no unforced errors. After calling the trainer one last time before beginning the final set, Del Potro emptied the tank so to speak, giving all he had left. Federer saved two break points in a long service game to open the set, and from there was able to weather the storm. He broke the Argentine twice more before finally serving out the match. Improving his head to head record to 12-2 vs Del Potro, Federer completed the comeback, 3-6 6-7 (4) 6-2 6-0 6-3, in 3 hours 14 minutes. It is his seventh comeback from a two sets to love deficit, and Del Potro’s first loss being up two sets to love.
Last game and post-match interview (on court in French).
Today’s win puts Federer into a tie for the all time mark of reaching 31 grand slam semifinals (Jimmy Connors). The Swiss maestro will face top seeded Novak Djokovic in a rematch of their classic 2011 semifinal at Roland Garros. Djokovic also fought back to win in five sets, from two sets to one down vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Federer vs Djokovic is set for Friday, June 8.
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