Juan Martin Del Potro serving
The 2009 U.S. Open Champion Juan Martin del Potro is through to the fourth round, but with guys like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic still in the mix, nobody is talking about the Argentine as a threat to win his second major.
Del Potro is playing some of his best tennis since he won this tournament three years ago, but some big obstacles still remain that could keep him from winning the title for the second time.
Let's take a look at what and who stand in del Potro's way.
Roddick fist pump
Andy Roddick's retirement hasn't taken effect yet, and the American awaits the young strong Argentine in their fourth-round match.
Del Potro has a 3-1 career head-to-head record against Roddick, but it was Roddick who snagged the most recent win when he beat del Potro in the semifinals of Memphis last year.
Del Potro will be up against an inspired Roddick who's playing with an overwhelming amount of emotion.
If del Potro wants to win his second major, Roddick is the first real obstacle that stands in his way.
Full crowd at Arthur Ashe is expected for Roddick vs. Del Potro
On Tuesday, two previous U.S. Open champions will do battle in Ashe stadium, and del Potro will be at a severe disadvantage as far as crowd support goes.
Del Potro will face a hostile environment just by way of being the unfortunate victim of the draw as he will have to endure Roddick's farewell tour.
It'll be del Potro vs. Roddick and about 23,000 of Andy's loudest friends.
It will not be as easy a task for Delpo to win as some may think.
Juan Martin Del Potro lunging for a ball
As always, the wind in Arthur Ashe stadium is a factor.
Del Potro is not only going up against Roddick and and a raucous crowd, but he'll also have to manage the swirling winds if he wants to move on.
In this New York Times article that Christopher Clarey wrote two years ago, former American great Jim Courier discusses the windy conditions that Arthur Ashe stadium possesses.
“I’m not an architect, so I don’t understand the dynamics in play with the design, but I can tell you as a player that the wind in Ashe is the most inconsistent wind of the four major stadiums,” said Courier, a commentator for CBS here.
Del Potro will have to take the possibility of wind into account in his effort to go forward.
Juan Martin Del Potro celebrating third-round win
Del Potro has had a great year and has climbed all the way back to claim the No. 8 world ranking after wrist surgery in 2010 had sent him plummeting in the rankings.
Let's not forget that at this time last year, he was bounced after his third-round match to Gilles Simon after coming in with great expectations to challenge for his second U.S. Open title.
Del Potro is fresh off a bronze medal from the 2012 Olympics, and he's looked good so far in this U.S. Open; he just needs to continue his dominance in this major.
He can't allow himself to be distracted by the expectations he set for himself when he won this title back in 2009.
Del Potro focused
Quite frankly, the Argentine's biggest challenge in this U.S. Open will be his ability to focus and block out distractions.
A win against Roddick will take the same amount of mental fortitude that it took when he beat Nadal and Federer back-to-back in 2009 to take the title.
As reported by Wayne Coffee of the New York Daily News, Del Potro is aware of the tall task in front of him and seems to be preparing himself accordingly.
I know this is special, this day, for him, but I’m doing my job. I will try to be focused on my match and doing my things, my shots. The match is going to be very tough.
Come Tuesday, we'll find out if Roddick, the crowd, the conditions or the expectations are too big of an obstacle for del Potro to overcome.