Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Roger Federer today in order to advance to the WTF semifinals, but it wasn't Del Potro who made a statement in this match. It was Federer.
Federer's statement? He still doesn't like Andy Murray.
Sure, the relations between the two seem to have warmed up somewhat from what they were like a few years ago, but that's all for show.
Today, Federer very conveniently lost just enough games in the match to allow Del Potro to advance instead of Murray. Had Federer won a third game in his brilliantly executed 2-6 first set tanking, Murray might still be alive in the tournament.
A brilliant tank-job it was.
Had Federer lost just a few more games, he himself would have been eliminated, but he was more than willing to take that risk for the chance of knocking out his dark nemesis.
Some might argue that there is no way that Federer would try any less than his hardest against the guy who defeated him at the U.S. Open, but it seems to me to have been the perfect strategy.
With this perfectly played match, Federer has killed two birds with one stone. He's taken Murray out of the equation, and sandbagged himself for a finals rematch against Del Potro.
Those of us in the know already understand that the only reason Federer lost at the US Open was to make the tour seem a little bit more interesting.
It's all part of an intricate strategy brilliantly orchestrated by Nadal, Mirka, and Gavin Rossdale. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the cooperation of Federer.
He's been only too happy to sacrifice a few ranking points for the greater evil. In the picture above, you can see Federer's downcast face.
It's not downcast because he's sad. He's looking down to try to hide a smirk of satisfaction.