U.S. Open QF preview and prediction: Federer vs. Del Potro

Eight years later, Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro are finally set for an encore at the U.S. Open.

Federer and Del Potro, who squared off in one of the tournament’s most memorable title matches back in 2009, will be facing each other for the 22nd time overall when they clash during quarterfinal action on Wednesday. Although the Swiss leads the head-to-head series 16-5, the high point of Del Potro’s career came in this matchup when he lifted the trophy in New York with a 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 triumph.

That result is simply a sampling of their list of epics. Federer prevailed in five sets on his way to the 2009 French Open title, stormed back from two sets down at Roland Garros in 2012, and survived 19-17 in the third at the 2012 London Olympics. From that 2012 battle on the red clay of Paris through the end of 2013, these two friendly rivals played seven consecutive matches that went to final sets–four won by Federer and three by Del Potro.

Speaking of final sets, Del Potro produced an improbable and dramatic performance on Monday just to give himself another shot at the 19-time Grand Slam champion. Looking like “death” due to illness (in the words of commentator Darren Cahill), the 28-year-old Argentine appeared to be down and out after listlessly dropping the first two sets against Dominic Thiem. But out of nowhere, and with some help from Thiem at times, Del Potro roared back for a 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-4 victory.

“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,” the No. 24 seed said afterward. “I’m so glad to go through.”

Federer echoed similar sentiments after each of his first two rounds, glad merely with getting through even though his performances were out of the ordinary. Clearly due to a lingering back issue, the 36-year-old needed five sets to scrape past both Frances Tiafoe and Mikhail Youzhny. Feeling better and once again getting into a grove as an event progressed, Federer raised his level to oust both Feliciano Lopez and Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets.

Thus after a total of 30 total sets played between them, another Federer-Del Potro showdown is here.

“Everybody loves him,” Del Potro said of his upcoming opponent. “(It) is going to be (an) interesting match. It will be after eight years again in the [center] court of this tournament. I know how to play if I want to win, but I will see how physically I feel after this battle. But always (it) is a pleasure to play the greatest guy [in] history.”

“It’s just really nice to see him back playing these kind of matches,” Federer added. “That’s what he came back for, to get crowd support the way he got it. We could even hear it on center court…. He’s a good guy. I know him well. So I’m really happy for him. It’s a good match to look forward to; reminds me clearly of the 2009 finals that we had, which was an epic. I hope we can produce another good one.”

There are two obvious roadblocks that could prevent another good one from happening: Del Potro’s health and Federer’s back. A day off, however, should cure whatever ailed the Argentine, and Federer has looked much better in his last two matches–even though he needed a brief visit from the trainer against Kohlschreiber. If both former champions are 100 percent, an edge goes to Federer based on his showings in rounds three and four combined with Del Potro’s grueling contest against Thiem.

Pick: Federer in 4

73 Comments on U.S. Open QF preview and prediction: Federer vs. Del Potro

  1. Rafa should play the way he plays Fed. Target Delp BH, direct serves to Del Po’s backhand, even charge to net by playing a sharp CC FH to his BH so that he can slice and give an easy ball. Try to engage him in rallies.

    Won’t be easy for Rafa, but its the easiest path he can get to finals and the crown. The only worrying thing was the way DelPo just took his serve to another level. Reminded me of 2009 final fifth set.

    • Moya will have right strategies..he is a good strategist..and rafa has played DElpo many times before

      OLympic shocker last year was great match..I think Delpo won 7 6 in 3rd

      • Oh wow, I had totally forgotten about that match last year! Although it wasn’t a major, it was best-of-five. I’m pretty sure DelPo is playing with a fraction of the energy he had going into that Davis Cup match.

  2. Rafa was asked what does he like and admire about Roger off the court

    his answer was hilarious..he said I cant answer as if I am his boyfriend before a very important match 🙂

    #gayfriendly # Fedal respect and like each other

  3. Let’s face it- the Rafa-DelPo semi is really the final! Unless Kevin Anderson was able to play an anomaly of a match in the final, which is a one in a billion chance… Rafa has seriously never had a better shot at a non-clay major than this one. I don’t care if it’s Del Po- this title
    Is OFFICALLY Rafa’s to lose!

    • Kevin..nothing is won till last ball is played. We all Rafans have seen this before in AO 14. He was given the title by all and sundry and had critical double career slam lined up . He had beaten Nishikori, Dimi, swept aside Fed in SF and his form was great..And we all know he got injured in final..So let it play out. Rafa will get the title ONLY if he wins last point of tournament.

      • I could see Del Po losing the final to Anderson but I don’t think he could lose to PCB in the final. Unless of course physically he’s totally wiped.

  4. Phone died that’s why I hadn’t put my thoughts on here. Really sad about this loss and I just was shocked at that miss at 7-6 in second set tiebreak and 5-4 30-30 in fifth set. I couldn’t believe some of the chances he missed out on but there weren’t a lot of them. McEnroe said afterwards he thought Fed didn’t have the regular spring in his step due to maybe the five setters or something but I didn’t really notice that. All that said, Del Po completely deserved it and I am extremely happy for him. I would love to see him take the crown after what he’s been through. He played a fantastic match and was the deserved champ and I guess now we will have two humble champions in the semis it just won’t be Fedal.

    • Rafa being Rafa, showing, in my opinion, excessive deference to Fed. After seeing this Delpo, Rafa knows he has a fight on his hands. Fed would have been a much easier opponent.

      I honestly wanted a Fedal semi, for Rafa to re-assert his dominance over Fed, restore order. It will come.

      Fed’s gone, time to focus on the business at hand. As Rafa says, nobody remembers losers, only winners.

      Vamos Rafa!

      • I remember saying that we should not get carried away looking ahead to a Fedal semifinal! One match at a time!

        Now we’re one more time why nothing can ever be taken for granted!

        Rafa will have a fought in his hands with Delpo!

        • This Delpo looks scary. I feel sad for New York, every Slam’s had their Fedal……..

          Where did THIS Delpo come from??

          • Good question RITB!! Didn’t see the match last night so can’t really comment but it does seem suspiciously like Fed wasn’t overly keen to meet Rafa 😉

            I’m quietly confident Rafa will prevail against delPo – famous last words – as long he can avoid too many TBs.

            • You and me @ed251137! Too damn suspicious, hahaha! Or maybe Fed was just being nice and giving Rafa a present since Rafa said he wasn’t too keen to play him? ?

              Actually, Delpo is giving me the beejeebuz, he can hurt Rafa, especially if Rafa comes out nervous. Also, I fear Rafa hasn’t really been tested, could be a bit undercooked. But this is so tantalizingly close, Rafa will fight. I have faith.

      • Rafa will surely beat Federer again. Dominance though? As long Fed skips clay, I don’t see there being any “dominance” happening. I think those days are behind us… Not saying it can’t happen. Fed could potentially never fully recover from his current state, and Rafa could start winning multiple hard court tournies. Personally, I wouldn’t be willing to bet on that happening, especially if Fed gets back to full health and a high level. For now, though, this is absolutely Rafa’s tournament to win or lose. On his racquet, as it should be- he’s on the tennis Mt. Rushmore! He will certainly look more like a world #1 If he wins the title.

  5. I hope Delpo does not bring this monster serve on FRiday 🙂 ..If he gets it Rafa will have huge pressure on his own serves.Delpo can take the racquet out of your hands.

  6. If Rafa wins semi, definitely he beats any of the other half opponent. They are not at his competition level.

    But playing Delpo in USO semis is not any easier than playing Fed.
    I think Delpo challenge to Rafa is comparatively 51:49 to Fed in terms of difficulty.

    Fed still has some fear to Rafa, and his legacy is threatened should they face each other and he again loses h2h on the fourth slam.
    But for Delpo, he should not have that thought of legacy, just go to blast his serve and forehand to left and right wing.

    If Delpo wins semi and face Anderson in final, then I see it 50:50.

    • I recogn this is basically the final for Nadal, while for Delpo there would still be a thought match waiting.
      But no way it would be a 50:50 against Anderson.. btw, the h2h is 6-0 for DP

    • Please watch Anderson again, he has made massive, massive improvements, wouldn’t take him for granted at all……..

  7. Federer post match presser tells it all. He says he knew he was never going to win this tournament

    Federer said in some ways he wasn’t disappointed because he knew his game was weaker than it looked, having been aided by playing three rivals in a row who are a combined 0-40 against him.

    It has been a tough tournament. I struggled,” Federer said. “If I ran into a good guy I knew I was going to lose. And going in I knew I’m not in a safe place.

    “I’m out of this tournament because I wasn’t good enough in my mind, my body and my game.”

        • Fed himself said that Delpo is right now better situated. to deal with Rafa than he himself. That’s very telling. If that’s so – why should he diminish Delpo’s chances by extending him to a fifth set? I think that there’s definitely a tactical element to Fed’s loss 😉

        • I know he didn’t tank, I was being facetious. He just wasn’t good enough, he said so himself.

          Geez, people lose their sense of humor when their fav loses………I know, I do too.

    • Exactly! Fed was being honest with himself. I had mentioned before, Fed had the luck of having guys who lost to him > 10 times with 0 win against him, one after another. They – Youzhny, Feli, Kohl – all played into his hands. Even the young Tiafoe had caused him so much problems and once he met a formidable player in Delpo, his weaknesses were exposed.

      He didn’t have good preparation for this USO so he knew he’s not going to win, he’s realistic about his chances.

    • So why was he looking forward to playing Rafa if he was not sure of himself? He said he was excited at the chance of playing Rafa, was he being disingenuous, as usual?

      • RITB 3.0 (AT 11:03 AM)

        And Fedfans repeated Fed’s words (on many websites) 24/7 during the last 10 days! LOL LOL LOL

        • @augusta008 at11:15

          I know! My goodness, they were hanging onto Fed’s every words, while also taking Rafa’s “diffidence” literally. Remember how, early on in Rafa’s career, Fedfans never missed an opportunity to tell us Rafa was always losing early to avoid playing Fed at USOPEN? Now that it is Fed who is always losing early, conveniently, we are supposed to keep quiet? Hell no!

          LOL LOL LOL indeedy……..

  8. he basically admitting his earlier opponents just did not capitalize on his lack of belief

    oppty missed for Rafa 🙂 If he had so many doubts against Delpo, he would have lot more against Rafa.

      • Good. Now you know how your own dishonest comments feel to other people.

        Have a nice day. I am being honest………

        • @ R.I.T.B,

          A wise person always backup their statement/comment with irrefutable facts, please if i have said something dishonest or wrong point it out and i will apologize for it cos i am not dishonest, i might joke, i might be serious but i am not dishonest.

          Please don’t say that again “it grosses me out”

          • Ah, same here @Stanley, to paraphrase you, I am not dishonest, I might joke, I might be serious but I am not dishonest. Please don’t say I am dishonest again, “it grosses’ me out”.

          • I was honestly commiserating with you @Stanley. Your guy lost, you must be hurting just like I hurt when Rafa loses. I am just acknowledging your pain, is that so bad?

            Just because I am not a Fedfan does not mean I am not human. Sometimes words mean just what they are, take them as they are, do not over-analyse.

            If you do not want my commiserations, then I take them back. No skin off my nose……

            Happy Tenngranding!

            ps: Fed will bounce back, tomorrow it may be me being miserable………hehehe!

            • @R.I.T.B,

              Your comments are sweet & bitter at the same time, i don’t know what to say.
              What’s wrong?
              You have really changed.

              Hmm… Okay Congrats! I mean it.

              Roger Federer is one of my favourites, my top 3 no my top 2.
              I like Rafito as well but he is not in my top 5 but i respect his skills &love for tennis, some people get it twisted but i like the guy.

              I want to say good luck but i am not there yet, i need some time lol!

              Congrats OK.

            • Nah, too old to change. The hurt I feel when Rafa loses is real so I imagine other fans feel the same way when their favs lose. However, at the end of the day, losses happen and wins happen also. Important to “enjoy” the losses, just as the wins……..

              Fedal is my favourite sporting rivalry, closely followed by Manchester United vs Liverpool (red devils rock). I am looking forward to the next!

          • Just to make it clear, in my previous post I was referring to RITB’s comment @ 11:09 am!

            That needed to be said! If you don’t like it, then don’t do it in the first place!

  9. I watched the match in ashe and the crowd support was fairly divided between delpo and roger. This i did not expect considering how brutally djoko was booed in the 2015 final. Even when delpo pulled ahead, there were ole ole chants on which i gladly joined in. However the crowd that i was sitting with was a latin american crowd who said that between rafa and delpo, they would want delpo to win. But i guess the shoe will be on the other foot come friday with all the fed supporters doing the ole ole chant. Cant wait for friday. I would like a simple str forward match for rafa. Vaamos! But if he has to lose better to delpo than fed

  10. To Benny G,Eugene,Joe,Big Al & other Rog fans on here…very very sorry for your loss from the deep of my heart…I wish Rog & u guys all the best for the rest of the season k?

    • Thanks, Mira. I didn’t see the match (I’m travelling), but very happy for del Potro, who deserves some big victories after such a long dry spell with injuries. Should be a great match tomorrow!

      • You’re welcome Joe!…And yeah!..agree with u bout DelPo…he deserved the win..he played incredible tennis..and Rog too for that matter…some of his shots or amazing gets or passing winners make us breathless joe!

  11. Happy for Delpo, very sorry for Roger & the Fedfans. Valiant efforts from both men.

    So Fed was bluffing his way through the tournament? Nice try. #respect

    Agree that Del Po will probably be a tougher match up for Rafa than Roger in his current form.

    • Im so tired of people always thinking that someone will be tough opponent for Rafa!! I mean seriously, y isn’t there that same kind of doubt when the other thee are heading into a match. I mean Rafa’s H2H with almost every player not Novak is +ve so y is it that Rafa is not a shoe in to win a match against someone like Delpo. It seems no mater who Rafa meet at the semis, there would be doubt, very annoying!!!

  12. No disgrace for Federer whos having an amazing year, and Delpo can beat anybody when he shows up and plays like that, as for Rafa who he plays or doesnt play is not his fault, draws open up sometimes, players get injured and pull out, can Delpo beat Fedal B2B really hope not, but what a story if he did ….

    • I don’t know what to say but hmm… Congrats to Del potro, i have always liked him but his inconsistency this year is disappointing, hopefully he has changed and i wish him the very best.

      I wish Pablo Carreno or K. Anderson good health and let the best player win and be prepared cos this is the biggest moment in their career and they need to play their very best in final against Juan Martin Del Potro or Rrrrr, they might not get this opportunity again, so make it count.

      I also wish hmm…i wish Rrrrrrr, ok i am not there yet i need some time.
      I wish Venus Williams the best, she better win this one, she has lost two Grand Slam finals this year and i want her to win a Slam b4 she retires, so winning the US OPEN won’t be bad but if she is going to lose in the finals then COCORISTA should win it.
      Coco Vandeweghe is playing really good and i wish her success also.

    • Alison,

      I am really glad that you said that! I kept saying to be careful about looking ahead to a Fedal match. One match at a time. Take nothing for granted.

      I don’t gloat the way some Fed fans do over Rafa’s losses. But I did think that Fed was still dealing with some issues. He was trying to put the best face on it. But when he took the MTO in his previous match with Kohls after winning a set, I sensed not all was okay with him.

      Once he bumped up against a wusjity opponent in Delpo, his weaknesses were exposed. I do not think he tanked at all to avoid meeting Rafa. Fed’s ego is too big to allow him to do that. I think he was hanging in there and hoping for the best. He’s a competitor. He fought hard in that match but just did not have his best.

      I actually wanted to see a Fedal match. I thought Rafa had a good shot at getting the win this time over Fed. That would have been very satisfying.

      I feel for the NY fans who wanted to finally see Rafa and Fed play one time at the USO.

  13. “It was one of those matches where if I ran into a good guy, I was going to lose, I felt,” confessed Federer. “I don’t want to say I was in a negative mindset, but I knew going in that I’m not in a safe place. Might have depended too much on my opponent, and I don’t like that feeling. I had it throughout the tournament, and I just felt that way every single match I went into.
    “I didn’t have that feeling at Wimbledon or at the Australian Open, and that’s why rightfully so I’m out of this tournament, because I wasn’t good enough, in my mind, in my body, and in my game to overcome these three pillars.”

    It would have been ugly against Rafa if that were the case. It was these ‘doubts’ that I was talking about! It’s an opportunity lost for Rafa to get a win over Fed in 2017. He now might lose a match indoors as well later in the year lol

    Fed didn’t play a bad match AT ALL. It was pretty decent but he sucked on crucial moments where the doubts get the strongest. His season has been kind of miraculous and nothing changes that. This was his 4th defeat only? Incredible!

    I am happy Rafa will hold on to the no.1 position for longer 🙂

  14. ““I have big priorities for the rest of the year, and I usually play very well towards the end. Now I just really need to recover and go back to the practice courts and hopefully just finish strong. Whatever that may be, I just want to play good tennis and enjoy myself.”

    Does NOT sound like a man who has lost passion for the rest of the year. He’ll fight to the bitter end for that no.1 ranking .

  15. In 2009 Rafa lost to Soderling at RG, then pulled out of W with knee tendonitis, he returned and made the semis of the USO losing to Delpo, IMO making the semis of the first GS back after injury with an abdominal tear too was a fantastic achievement in itself, and no disgrace losing to the eventual champion, this time Rafas fit and healthy, and ready to give it his all, so all bets are off, as this is a very different Rafael Nadal ….

  16. Just wanted to say commies to fed fans especially benny and Kevin for your guy losing. He’s had an incredible season winning the 2 out of 3 slams he’s played and will probably rack up a lot of points in the autumn…

    • Thanks amy. 🙂 I don’t need commiserations, though. I’m a fan of Federer, but he’s not “my guy”. I feel like I’ve explained this a thousand times on here. Does no one believe me haha? Why can’t I be a fan of more than one person? I appreciate you’re thoughts though, Amy. I am actually most disappointed that Fed wasn’t able to be 100% so that we could get that Fedal US Open match… THAT is what I am sad about, way more than Federer losing. I don’t even think that big-time Fed fans should even be disappointed. He’s 36 and playing with house money. He’s won more majors this year than he did in the 7 years prior to 2017. That’s crazy. What Rafa is doing is so remarkable as well, but he’s only 31. Plus, Fed still has a shot to even get to #1, although he would need to win like all the remaining big tournies, assuming Rafa wins the Open.

      • I do know that you are a Rafa fan as well Kevin!! My wording was largely determined by my addressing fed fans in general some of whom are more exclusive in their affections!I know that both you and benny like a number of players and are first and foremost tennis fans.
        Of course the biggest disappointment is often when a player simply doesn’t do themselves justice… I am foremost a Rafa fan but I also like nole and delpo and I admire Fed’s game..

  17. @Nativenewyorker,

    Baseless as usual, you are just angry that i disagree with you on many moral and Godly issues e.g the murdering of innocent children etc.

    I am done trying to tell you the truth or show you how evil what you believe & practice are.
    A word is enough for the wise and i know that i have done my best for you and God knows that too.

    Agreeing with everyone that disagrees with me even when they are wrong is childish & pitiful, please stop humiliating yourself.
    You know there comes a time when GOD lets people go there own direction, sow their own seed and at the end reap what they have sown(Romans 1:24 & Galatians 6:7).

    After i told you that i was exhausted. telling you the truth, you said or promised that you were going to stop talking to me but you haven’t, on many articles/pages you still talk to me and i like that but i don’t like seeing you this way, honestly it’s pitiful & i am hurt when i see you this way cos i care.

    I am not a shy person and that’s one of my achilles’s heel, i like U,i really do and i know you don’t believe me, i will bet a million bucks that you don’t believe me and i will win BIGLY.

    A Bad Friend is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing they pretend to like you but the are full of deceit, ulterior motives etc.
    A Good Friend is faithful, kind etc but importantly they are truthful and most times their names starts with an S e.g Stanley, stephen, stanley etc.

    Have i become your enemy because i tell you the truth?
    Please we can still have cordial conversations or friendship if you like but don’t go this way cos you will wreck it and in the future you might regret it.

    This is hard for me to say cos i have not recovered but to prove my sincerity 2 U, i wish your guy R. Nadal the very best even though i like Del Potro too.
    Please be careful because since the R16 of the US OPEN i think i have some bad luck lol!

    I close with this “i care, i really do and if you can’t see it, that’s painful and i am sorry”

    Vamoooooooos Rafito, if you knew what that took from you will…..

Comments are closed.

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