Federer stunned by del Potro in US Open final

Tennis: US Open: Argentine giant claims his first Grand Slam title

Federer stunned by del Potro in US Open final


Standing 1.98 metres tall (6ft 6ins), the Argentine skyscraper left Federer in his shadow as he won 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 to capture his first grand slam crown.
Roger Federer, left, of Switzerland, and Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, pose with their trophies. AP
In an electrifying four-hour tussle featuring countless Federer errors, Hawk-Eye disputes, umpire clashes and high-fives with fans, it was del Potro's red-hot forehand that ultimately shone through and denied the Swiss a modern-era record sixth successive US Open title.

After being gifted his third match point with a double fault, an incredulous del Potro kept his eye on the ball as he watched a Federer backhand float long to seal victory.

He dropped his racket and collapsed on to his back, with legs splayed and his hands covering his face, an X-shaped emblem of triumph. His body still shaking with emotion, del Potro got back on to his feet as the tears started to flow freely.

"I had two dreams this week -- one was to win the US Open and the other one is to be like Roger," the 20-year-old, who earned $1.85 million for his golden run, told the crowd.

Turning to his victim, the sixth seed added: "One is done, but I need to improve a lot to be like you. You fought until the final point. You are a great champion. This will be in my mind forever."

French Open and Wimbledon champion Federer, who had been bidding for a 16th Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, kisses the championship trophy after winning the men's finals championship over Roger Federer, of Switzerland, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York on Monday.APgrand slam crown in a final pushed back to Monday, said: "I had a great tournament but he was the best."

The victory at a floodlit Arthur Ashe Stadium allowed del Potro to become the first South American man to triumph in New York since compatriot Guillermo Vilas in 1977. But unlike on that day 32 years ago, Del Potro was not mobbed on court by dozens of fans wanting to get close to a champion.
Instead, Del Potro poured cold water all over his head to ensure he was not dreaming.

The Argentine also became the first man to beat Spaniard Rafael Nadal -- whom he beat for the loss of just six games -- and Federer back-to-back in a grand slam arena.

Federer was philosophical in defeat.

"I was two points from the match today. That's the way it goes sometimes," he said. "But I've had an unbelievable run (this year).

"Being in all major finals and winning two of those, I'm losing the other two in five sets.

"Sure, I would have loved to win those two as well. But the year has been amazing already -- got married and had kids, don't know how much more I want."

On court, though, Federer can be a very greedy man.

Given that he had won all six of his previous matches against Del Potro, he was eager keep that record going.

He romped through the opening set and stood two points from taking a two-set lead at 5-4 but the top seed watched in horror as a Hawk-Eye overrule handed del Potro break point.

Convinced the ball-tracking system had picked up the wrong mark, an irritated Federer dropped his serve as the set swung del Potro's way and he roared through the tiebreak 7-5.

It turned out to be the first of many Hawk-Eye decisions to irk the Swiss champion and after del Potro belatedly challenged a call at the end of the ninth game in the third set, Federer flipped.

"Come on, you are allowed two seconds to challenge, the guy takes 10," Federer yelled at umpire Jake Garner as he walked to his chair. "Are there any rules? That was way too long."

Told by Garner to be quiet, the usually unflappable Federer swore as he snapped: "Don't tell me to be quiet. I'll talk when I want to talk. I don't give a ... what he says."

Fired up by the exchange, the Swiss punished del Potro in the next game.

Serving to stay in the set, del Potro missed an easy smash to go 0-15. On the next point, a Federer forehand slice bounced on the tape and fell dead.  Federer held up his hand to apologise but the Argentine rolled his eyes as if to say "You cannot be serious!" Two double faults later, the set was over.

But the del Potro forehand, which proved so devastating in the second set, was once again blazing winners in the fourth and the way he kept spanking the balls brought the crowd alive.

Leading 3-2 with a break, he ended a fast-paced 21-shot rally by curling a forehand in on the run and as the ball dropped in, he kept on running to exchange high-fives with cheering fans in the front row.

Four games later del Potro was left gasping as Federer stood two points from victory but an ace and a forehand thunderbolt got del Potro out of jail and he punched the air in delight.

Almost an hour later, having broken for 2-0 lead in the deciding set with a blistering forehand crosscourt passing shot, del Potro was lying flat on his back in ecstasy.

*Born: Sept 23, 1988, in Tandil, Argentina

*Start: Del Potro took up tennis age six at the same club where compatriots Juan Monaco and Mariano Zabaleta started out.

*At almost two metres (6-foot-6) Del Potro is one of the tallest players on the tour.

*Came to attention for his tennis in 2005, when he became the youngest player to finish in the top 200. A year later he became the youngest player to end the season in the top 100.

*In 2008 won four titles in a row, before taking Argentina to the Davis Cup final which they lost to Spain.

*Capped an impressive 2009 with a 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 win over Roger Federer in New York.

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