Do you believe in miracles? Yes! Del Potro rises from the dead to stun Thiem at U.S. Open

History suggests that it’s never over until it’s over with Juan Martin Del Potro. After all, perhaps no one on tour churns out instant classics quite like the affable Argentine. Common sense, however, suggested something different on Monday at the U.S. Open: Del Potro was done.

Having dealt with so many injuries throughout his otherwise illustrious career, the 28-year-old appeared to be felled by an illness in the early stages of his fourth-round showdown against Dominic Thiem. According to commentator Darren Cahill, Del Potro “looked like death” when he practiced on his off day in between Saturday’s straight-set blowout of Roberto Bautista Agut and Monday evening’s date with Thiem.

And–for a while–the 2009 U.S. Open played like it, too. But although he resembled death for two dispiriting sets, Del Potro overcame illness and a formidable foe in Thiem to triumph 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-4 after three hours and 35 minutes.

A raucous Grandstand crowd was not  about to let its chosen one go away quietly after he fell behind by two sets after only one hour and 13 minutes. Lifting his energy and his level not a moment too soon, Del Potro broke Thiem right away in the third and raced away with the set while losing just one game.

Thiem all but threw away the middle set with an array of errors, but he also picked up his game to make for two final frames that overdosed on drama. The Austrian came within one point of victory twice only to see Del Potro save a pair of match points at 5-6 with aces. It was Thiem’s turn for clutch play when he–after getting erased easily in the fourth-set tiebreaker–battled out of a 0-40 hole to hold for 3-3.

In the end, Del Potro completed his incredible comeback with a break at 5-4. It ended unceremoniously, as Thiem double-faulted at ad-out.

“I [played] one of the epic [matches] of my career here in the U.S. Open, which is my favorite tournament, in front of a great crowd,” Del Potro reflected. “That’s what I did with my hands, looking the sky (after I won). But I’m so glad to go through. [I played] a fantastic battle against one of the best players of the tour.”

“It was a great atmosphere,” Thiem assured. “I mean, we’re not playing every day in an atmosphere like this…. Of course the crowd was on his side. It was very loud; obviously way more for him. But still, I like sports where there’s a great atmosphere, so I enjoyed a lot to play out there today.

“The crowd was not unfair at all. It didn’t affect me. I was really pumped to play in front of a packed Grandstand. I mean, I really liked it.”

It’s safe to say Del Potro–and his throng over overjoyed supporters–liked it even more. But did they even believe it? Who could blame them if they didn’t? Because Del Potro’s latest resurrection from zero to hero was beyond belief.

4 Comments on Do you believe in miracles? Yes! Del Potro rises from the dead to stun Thiem at U.S. Open

  1. Well written and great description of that match. It was a real sleeper for 2 sets and suddenly boom. Delpo arose and gloriously won with his fans singing his name.

    What’s next?

  2. Hard not to like both of these guys. I couldn’t watch the fifth for fear Delpo would not be able to make it across the finish line. Great news for sure, though I think Delpo needs to down about 10000 calories to prepare for the next match.

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