Juan Martin del Potro came through a tight battle with top American John Isner 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 in sweltering conditions on Tuesday to reach the semi-finals of the US Open.
The 2009 champion fought off Isner in a 3hr 31min showdown and joked after the match about how tough it was playing through the heat.
Both players went off-court for a 10-minute break after the third set, since the extreme heat policy was in effect, and Del Potro was asked during his on-court interview what he did during that time.
“I took a shower, re-taped my ankles, and I didn’t want to come out again,” the world No. 3 said with a laugh.
He added during his press conference: “I think I played very solid this game. In particular I made good returns every service games. I had a lot of chances to break. I did couple of times during the game. I think I play on a smart game today. I saw John a little bit tired also. That’s give me a little bit more energy to keep trying.
“I played a good match. I don’t know if I’m playing my best tennis ever, but I’m feeling good. I reach another semi-finals in this Grand Slam, which means something big to me. I’m very happy for that.”
Isner, who now trails Del Potro 4-8 head-to-head, explained what makes Del Potro such a tough opponent to face.
“He’s so good, and especially when he gets control of the point, of course on his forehand side, he doesn’t miss that shot very often, if at all,” said Isner.
“He’s such a tough player and he’s playing well and he likes these conditions. He likes playing on a hard court like this. Yeah, I mean, again, when he gets control of the point, it’s very tough to wrest it back from him. Yeah, that’s what he does so well, and I think he’s exhibited that throughout this whole tournament. He’s been playing very well.”
Here are some stats and figures to put Del Potro’s victory into context…
2 – consecutive US Open semis for Del Potro.
3 – career US Open semi-finals reached by Del Potro (2009, 2017-18).
4 – wrist surgeries undergone by Del Potro (3 on his left one, 1 on his right).
6 – Grand Slam semi-finals made by Del Potro throughout his career (FO 2009, 2018; Wimbledon 2013; US 2009, 2017-18).
8 – Del Potro faced a mere eight break points through his five matches played so far this US Open. Saved three and dropped serve five times.
9 – victories for Del Potro over world No. 1s (lost 13), the most wins among all players who have never been ranked No. 1 themselves. He could face world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Friday’s semi-finals.
12hr 16min – Time spent by Del Potro on court en route to the US Open semis.
34 – wins against just eight losses for Del Potro at the US Open.
42 – match wins for Del Potro in 2018, against 10 losses. He’s inside the top four on the match win leaders list for the season.
66 – aces struck by Del Potro this US Open, third-most of all players entered in the main draw (behind Isner and Raonic), and most among players remaining in the tournament.
70% – Del Potro’s first-serve percentage this tournament, the highest among all players in the main draw.
71% – Del Potro’s success rate on net points this US Open (60/84).
83% – Del Potro’s winning percentage of points on his first serve, tied for second highest among players who have contested more than two main draw matches.
189 – winners struck by Del Potro this US Open, against 104 unforced errors.
* Stats via US Open match notes/IBM system
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