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September 24, 2017

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Del Potro upsets Federer to deny dream semi-final with Nadal

NEW YORK - Juan Martin del Potro on Wednesday derailed the dream of a semi-final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 defeat of the Swiss third seed in the quarter-finals of the US Open.

Del Potro repeated his giant-killing act of 2009 when he won the New York title at the expense of Federer, winner of the previous five editions.

The Argentine player, who has suffered through multiple wrist surgeries since then, prevented Federer and Nadal from playing in New York for the first time ever.

Del Potro won his sixth match against Federer from 22 played; it took nearly three hours of battle.

"There was more to it that led to me being down two sets to one and being down two sets to one, and the break," Federer said.

"I missed too many balls to keep me maybe ahead in the match or didn't put me into so much trouble where I needed luck or I needed him to take poor decisions.

"He came up with the goods when he needed to and I helped him a little bit sometimes too maybe. But he was better today, especially on the big points."

Del Potro clinched his win with a driving forehand down the line that the Swiss could not touch.

"I just played my best match of the tournament," the winner said. "I did everything well, served so good and hit the forehand as hard as I could.

"We played a great match, but I deserved to win in the end.

"This is like a home court for me, I feel happy every time I play here. Against Rafa the crowd will be tough on me, but I hope I have some cheering for me also.

"I cannot believe I'm playing another semi-final after all my injuries and surgeries."

The South American profited from a break of Federer for 6-5 in the opening set to grab the early lead, but the 36-year-old Swiss struck back to level as he won the second with a comeback from 4-1 down.

Federer missed his chances for a two-sets-to-one lead as he failed to convert on four set points in the tiebreaker, allowing Del Potro to prevail on his first chance.

The fourth set stayed tight through four games before Federer stoned a volley at the net to bring on a third break point of the fifth game; Del Potro profited with a stinging return winner for 3-2 on his way to the knockout of the New York crowd hero.

In the women's draw, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys finished up the job of landing four American women in the semi-finals.

Vandeweghe knocked out top seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to reach a first-ever semi-final while wrecking the Czech's chances of retaining her number one ranking.

The top spot will be taken over on Monday by Garbine Muguruza, who will become the second Spanish woman at the top after Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and 24th overall in the history of the WTA.

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