Friday, 11 September 2009

Tennis : Del Potro hits the big time US OPEN


Juan Martin del Potro shrugged off a slow start and blustery wind to defeat Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in the US Open quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.
It was sixth-seeded del Potro's first match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, and the result means that del Potro will make his second trip to a Grand Slam semi-final.
Jettisoned to smaller courts for every match over his two years at Flushing Meadows - despite his ranking - del Potro finally got to play on the big stage.
"It's so beautiful playing in front of this crowd,'' del Potro said.
"I'm so happy it happened this way.''
Slow start

The Argentine had a rough time handling Cilic's serve in the first set, but worked it out and rolled off 17 of the last 20 games.
"I cannot start the match like today,'' del Potro said.
"I was thinking about other things, and the weather was bad. But it was bad for both players.
"I just need to be in focus in the beginning of the match until the last point and play my game.''
Del Potro is in his second major semi-final, following this year's French Open, where he blew a lead and lost in five sets to Roger Federer.



















His next opponent will be No3 Rafael Nadal or No11 Fernando Gonzalez, whose quarter-final was interrupted by rain with Nadal leading 7-6 (4), 2-2.
After winning the first set, Nadal sought treatment from a trainer.
The exact nature of Nadal's problem wasn't immediately clear, but he did have stomach muscle issues earlier in the tournament.
Del Potro got a matchup with 16th-seeded Cilic thanks to the Croatian's three-set upset of No2 Andy Murray on Tuesday.
In del Potro, Cilic saw a near mirror image of himself - 6-foot-6, big serve, and they were even born five days apart in September 1988.
Meanwhile Nadal's match has been delayed by rain [GALLO/GETTY] Unforced errors
But Cilic's sharpness from the Murray match vanished in this one after leading by a set and a break.
He committed 53 unforced errors against 29 winners, while del Potro was on his game - 24 unforced errors and 27 winners.
"Andy, he doesn't have as much power as Del Potro has,'' Cilic said.
"And it was a little bit hotter day that day and the ball was going through the court more and jumping much more.''
Despite wind gusting at more than 20 mph, del Potro showed power, and the poise to hit drop shots and lobs.
"I was thinking, every point, do the same, try to put the ball in the court,'' he said.
"When you fight that way to the final point, you have many chances and that's what happened today.''
Despite what was at stake, he gave Cilic a point toward the end of the third set when a second serve by Cilic was called out, but del Potro conceded it.
He becomes the third Argentine to reach the US Open semi-finals, after Guillermo Vilas and David Nalbandian.
American duo Todd Parrott and Carly Gullickson won the first trophy to be handed out this week at Flushing Meadows, upsetting defending champions Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Leander Paes of India 6-2, 6-4.

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