Del Potro Seizes Opportunity Presented to Him

Donald FincherAnalyst ISeptember 14, 2009

Roger Federer had 59 errors, 11 double faults, and had less than a 50 percent first serve rate the match.  In essence, he gave this match away.  However, having said that, Juan Martin Del Potro still deserves credit.  It's not enough to have a match gift-wrapped for you, if you don't open the present.

Many players playing in their first major slam often don't take advantage of opportunities.  They tighten up, make uncharacteristic mistakes, do boneheaded things.  And Del Potro did do some of that as he double faulted not once but twice in a row to lose the third set on his own serve.  After that, he could have thrown in the towel.

He didn't.  And that's why he deserved this match.  He could have just assumed that Federer would coast to victory after being up a set as Federer so characteristically does.  He's the best frontrunner in the game.

If Del Potro assumed at that point that Federer would have to blow it for him to win, he would have been right.  And who in their right mind is going to hold their breath for that?  So it must have taken a Herculean effort mentally to stay in set four.

But Federer continued to miss serve after serve and make error after error allowing Del Potro the chance to go to a tiebreaker.

Once it got to set five, you kind of felt like Del Potro would win but your head kept saying that Federerer going to pull it together because we've seen this movie before.

Again, if Del Potro, who has also seen the same movie before, relinquished the momentum to Federer on the sheer belief that Federer was going to grab it back anyway, it would have been completely understandable for someone in their first major.

In the end, while Federer should get credit for an assist here, Del Potro had to do his part.  And he did!  Congratulations to Juan Martin Del Potro.

I'm still not sure that he would have won this match more than twice out of 10 times if they were to play that many in a row.  After all, Federer was 8-0 against him going into this match so he had Del Potro's number.

And Del Potro got the benefit of not having a tough match yesterday and an uncharacteristic three days of rest before the Nadal match due to the rain delay.

Those stars may not line up again.  Without that, his fitness would have probably played a role today not even allowing him to capitalize on all the gifts.  So his ability to win another slam, to me, is in doubt.

If Federer stays healthy and Murray finds some offense to go along with his defense, it may be difficult for Del Potro to win another slam.  He is gangly and there is a reason that nobody over 6 feet 5 inches has ever won a slam before today's alignment of the stars.

But, while Del Potro may end up being another one-slam wonder, that won't be known until later in his career.  For today though, he has to be happy about his result.