US Open 2009 Final: Del Potro def Federer 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 in Epic Match

US Open 2009 Final: Del Potro def Federer 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 in Epic Match

I know there is many disappointed Fedfans out there tonight, but you will soon feel better. I promise ;-) When Roger lost today I was disappointed of course, but then I realized what a fantastic year it has been for Roger and I actually started feeling really good about it. Also the fact that he lost to someone that I like made a big difference. If Roger had lost to Rafa tonight it would have been a very different story, so thank God that didn’t happen. Come to think of it this match had quite a few similarities to the final in Australia when Roger also lost 6-2 in the final set. But after winning his first French Open and reclaiming his Wimbledon crown, coupled with the fact that it was Del Potro he lost to, I have to say this loss has an altogether different feel about it.

When Roger lost to Rafa in Australia earlier this year I was literally crushed. This time I almost feel the opposite. I’m happy that this has been an awesome year for Roger and I am happy for Del Potro getting a deserved win. Today Roger lost to the better player. He definitely didn’t lose the match, Delpo won it. The only thing that I regret a little is that Roger did not make Delpo serve for the match, especially after he saved two match points in that final game. If R0ger somehow pulled that game out of the bag, I think Delpo might well have choked when serving for the match. I console myself by telling myself that the only way Delpo could have won this match, was by breaking in the final game of the match. I think if things got close in that final set, it would really have been a tall order for Delpo.

But he did what he had to do which was to break Roger for a second time, so that he didn’t have to serve for the match under immense pressure. So all credit to him. At the beginning of this year, if you told me that Roger would have won only one grand slam, but that it would have been the French Open, I would have been satisfied. Before this year it wasn’t clear if Roger would ever win the French Open, and if he did not it would have left a hole in his legacy. So for him to have won that title already made this a successful year in my mind. The fact that he went on to regain his Wimbledon crown, and pass Sampras’ grand slam record this year already, made it an amazing year. But not only that, he took back his number one ranking.

That was like the icing on the cake. Lets not get greedy people. We tend to get spoiled as Fedfans. I have no doubt Roger will end the year ranked number one now, and keep gaining on Sampras’ record amount of weeks at number one. This was a monumental year for Roger already, no matter which way you look at it. After losing in Australia, things were looking pretty bleak if I may remind you. Rafa was a lock for the French Open and most people thought he would win Wimbledon too. So this season has been a huge turn around for Roger really, and it sets him up well for the future. Losing to Delpo in the US Open final is a minor. You can’t win every single match. Roger had the most amazing run at the US Open in open era history, which will probably never be surpassed.

I still want him to win the most US Open titles in the open era and I am positive he will do so. I’m also positive he will pass Sampras’ 7 Wimbledon titles. Who can really stop him there? Ok let me look more closely at the match then. A lot of people will say that Roger didn’t play well today, but that is only a half truth. Roger played as well as he was allowed to play. So you might as well say he played really well, because he played the best he could play under the circumstances. His first serve was only at 50% which is low, but I think that has a lot to do with pressure. Of late I have noticed that Roger starts his matches with a low first serve percentage anyway, and then it gets batter as the match go on. But because Delpo won the second set and put pressure on Roger, he couldn’t really up his first serve percentage.

I mean the same exact thing happened in the Australian Open final. In Australia his first serve percentage was 52% against Rafa. This is a match up issue I feel. Look at the match stats in Australia:

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/stats/day19/1701ms.html

Now look at the match stats from today:

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/stats/day21/1701ms.html

Quite similar isn’t it? The point is that Delpo and Rafa both put pressure on Roger’s first serve because he knew if it isn’t good, he would get into an extended rally with them in which case he could well lose the point. Especially towards the end you could just feel how much Roger needed to get a free point from a first serve, and the more he needed it the more he started missing it. That is what pressure does. The first set was vintage Roger I thought, as he broke in the second game with a stunning cross court passing shot on the run, after an excellent rally. At this point it looked like Roger was bringing his A+ game, as he won the first set and went up a break in the second set as well. Then at 5-4 and Roger serving to go up two sets to love, there came a huge turning point which set the trend for the match.

If Roger had held serve there the match would have been over 99% certain. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, that was a huge turning point. It gave Delpo the chance to win the second set and even things up, instead of being two sets to love down and pretty much out of it. Delpo only needed one break at 3-3 in the tie break which would be enough to take the tie break 7-5. At 3-3 in the second set Roger lost serve again as it looked like Delpo was gaining in confidence. He would break up right away to even the score at 4-4 though. Then with Delpo serving at 4-5, he pretty much choked away the third set with two consecutive double faults. At this points the odds was stacked pretty heavily against Delpo to win the match, but I wasn’t counting him out quite yet.

Delpo went on to break serve at 2-2 in the fourth set, but at 3-4 Roger broke back. From here on Delpo started holding serve more comfortably than Roger until the tie break. This continued into the tie break as Roger served a double fault the first point of the tie break, and you could start to sense that the pressure was increasing on Roger. That double fault would prove to be crucial as it was all Delpo need to take the breaker 7-4. I said in my analysis of the Soderling match that it’s extremely hard to win two tie breakers against Roger in a grand slam match, and when Delpo managed to do it the danger signs were showing. Then in the final set Delpo served first which was another important swing, and Roger lost serve at 0-1. At 2-5 Roger went down 15-40 on his serve, but he managed to save those two match points.

I was really praying at this point that he would at least hold serve to force Delpo to serve for the match, but it wasn’t to be. Roger did his best to fight off a third match point, but eventually floated a backhand long after another penetrating forehand from Delpo. It was a sad sight, but the run had to end some time. A sixth straight US Open was always going to be a stretch. It has never been done in any grand slam in the open era. Roger lost to a worthy opponent today who played an incredible match. Even though the stats doesn’t reflect it, this was a very high quality match with some amazing rallies. A match like this is about taking your opportunities because there is no second chances. If Roger held serve at 5-4 in the second set, I believe the match was over. But he did not.

Also if he did not serve a double on the first point of the first set tie break, things could have been different. And the if he held serve in the final game of the match, things could have been different as well. But the point is Delpo played really well and on the day he was the one who took his chances. On another day things can be very different. In a match like this the margins are small, and like I said it is about who can grab a hold of their chances. By no means does this match mean that he now has a problem with Delpo or whatever. Next time he just has to make sure he makes better use of his chances. Simple as that. I hope my readers will not lose any heart because of this loss, because this really means nothing.

Roger’s level is not down by any means. In fact I am amazed by the fact that his level has hardly dropped at all since his prime, and I think he will still be around for a long time winning slams. This is a minor set back and like I said it had to happen at some point. Here is to an awesome year for Roger which is not over yet!

Presser: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2009-09-14/200909131252827286093.html

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14 Comments

    1. You kept your promised, this is indeed a good post. Console my heavy heart though I think am the greediest of all his fans. Yes I like Roger to win every tournament he enters. Roger failed to win 6 in row at Wimbledon therefore I sort of expected the same result at USO. I am in this major denial mode here. Delpo deserves this win. Roger played better than he did at AO but his serve deserted him at crucial moments and also Delpo stepping up at every opportunity. Except for RG, Roger is a tough opponent at GS Final, those who beat him actually had to go through 5 sets to finish him off. This should us how talented he is, good for us fan bad for his critics. I can’t believe I am saying this but losing will do Roger more good, he will learn more from his loss. OK, I will now go drown myself watching Roger’s old matches. Adios Amigoes :-)

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    1. Thanks Ru-an for your “comfort” post! I have been waiting and waiting and switching my computer on every 10 mins to check your blog! What would I do without your blog?! I felt so deflated and depressed for a while and just don’t feel like doing anything (although I admit the feeling wasn’t as bad as when Roger lost the AO in Jan this year – I was in mourning and avoided watching tennis for a while). You are right. You are more objective and level-headed than all of us crazy and greedy fans. It has been a great year for Roger. Let’s not take that away from Roger. How he must be feeling now and with babies at home again! It is just that when Roger makes it again and again, he spoils us and makes us want more and more. I knew it would be impossible to pull off a 6th but I was just dreaming if it was at all possible, it would be just unbelievable and shut up the critics forever on Roger being the GOAT. But not to worry, there will come a time when they will acknowledge Roger because only in the future would they realise that nobody would be able to maintain his level of play and consistency. I do think however Roger lost the match because he lost his first service. All other ways, he played well. Even in past matches when he is under tremendous pressure, he still can serve well. Somehow his first serve deserted him today. I have noticed in matches (especially with tougher opponents) when his first serve deserts him, he usually loses. But despite his losing his first serve today, he still could put up such a close fight with Delpo. Imagine if he is on song with his first serve, Delpo is NO MATCH for him. Congrats to Delpo, and like you, I prefer him ANYTIME to big-mouth Murray or sicko Nadal. The big mouth in Scotland must be seething and full of jealousy!!! If Roger retires, I am all for Delpo. Did you see his interview where he says he always look at Roger, how Roger behaves and he tries to follow Roger, as a player and as a gentleman?! Delpo is a real warm extremely nice guy, humble, unassuming and so lovable. Three cheers to him, gentle giant! and like Dippy, I’m gonna be in denial mode awhile and go watch some old matches of Roger’s! Just so addicted to him and can’t get enough of him!! Lol!

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    1. Well done to Del Potro, he deserved it and I’m very very happy for him. Sad for Roger obviously but he has had the year that completes his legacy and this loss doesn’t make a huge difference to him. 2 big differences from Oz are he had the career GS now and the GS record, and of course he lost to a player I like (that forehand is…..wow). I wouldn’t be feeling so happy if it had been Nadal or Murray for sure. Well done DelP and to many more slams for yourself and Roger in the future.

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    1. I know you’re a hardcore Federer fan, so it’s fantastic to read such a beautiful post after the final. I completely agree with you and it’s so nice to see something that counteracts the Federer fans who are expressing anger on their blogs.

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    1. After a restless sleep and calming down with your soothinhg post, I can see that Juan Martin Del Potro was great in the match and Roger still had chances to win. Those break points that he was not able to capitalize on was crucial and his first serve let him down (hope the back is ok) It did seem to mirror the Australian Open where Roger faded in the end. Playing a tough match against Nole didn’t help. He may have been exhausted. Thanks Ru-an for soothing my nerves.

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    1. Thanks Ru-an for a great comforting post. I guess us fans were more greedy and needy than Roger himself :-) . he was so calm afterwards, i almost thought he was gonna make a joke that he wasn’t gonna cry this time or something… I do believe Del Potro didn’t allow him to play his best game, so good on him. The only thing Roger can blame himself for is that 9th game in the 2nd set. He completely lost his cool over Hawk-Eye, lost the game and got so frustrated later on about Hawk-Eye again, that he did a mini-Serena ;-) , saying ‘I don’t give a shit’ and ‘I don’t fucking care’ to the umpire. I was thinking that time about your really great post on his loss in Miami when he smashed his racket – maybe he got it out of his system again. But not this time unfortunately. So – we’re all shocked, rog is human :)) Anyway, time to look ahead! His 2400 points lead on Nadal is almost sure to be enough to be no 1 the end of the year. Even if Nadal would win both Masters and the Finals (which he won’t!), Roger would need only a couple of quarterfinals to stay ahead. Then it’s on to the Record of most weeks on number 1: when he’s still first after the Australian he will surpass Jimmy Connors (who’s on 268), and 2 weeks later he’ll surpass Ivan Lendl (on 270). So that seems highly likely. To pass the last one, Sampras on 286, he will have to be number one the week AFTER Roland Garros. I think this will mean he’ll have to at least win either the Australian or RG again, which is both very possible. Then of course there’s the record for most Master titles. He’ll have a LOT of chances for reaching 17 here in coming months/year. SO – looking forward to more great moments with Roger, and with your blog Ru-an! Now what the hell am i gonna do with my time these coming weeks haha… Tristan

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    1. Ru-an, you are soothing comfort to us after reading your analysis. Yes, it is difficult to see our champ lose, however, am as pleased as you and others that he lost to a humble guy who played great tennis. To not repeat what has been said in previous comments as I agree with much of it. Thank you for reminding us what a great year Roger has had and for your devout loyalty and belief of more to come. Bravo Roger and all Roger Fans.

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    1. Juan Martin DEL POTO finally delivers Argentina another Grand Slam glory. It was a thriller game in my opinion one that will go down as one of the best in Grand Slam history. Roger FEDERER who was forced to play a fifth set in a US Open final also deserve my respect for putting up another amazing performance. Juan Martín DEL POTRO has always said his favourite tournament was the US Open and tonight he made the miracle happen against the toughest possible rival who, as expected, didn’t make his life easy. The Argentine took the last two sets and won his first Grand Slam title to make the whole country celebrate. We salute the brilliant Juan Martín DEL POTRO on the biggest day of his professional career (and probably his whole life). The big question remains will Delpo continue this fine form that has taken him this far? Only time will tell. In the meantime, appreciate your thoughts about him and the final overall.

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    1. Ruan, I love your posts, they are brilliant and very true to form. I always go to your blog with regard to Roger as your analysis is always accurate. I have been reading your blog for quite a long time and find a lot a comfort especially when Roger has losses. As one of your former bloggers said she was going to your blog every ten minutes (as was I) after this U.S. Open loss and I loved your very apt comments. I feel his game didn’t quite have the fire as did his brilliant performance with the Djokovic match, which was superb and a thing of beauty to behold. Thanks again for your wonderful post.

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    1. Thanks Ru-an for your comforting post ,as you have said I really feel better after reading such a supporting post.As you Roger looks so relax, he said”you can´t have them all and i can´t always play my best.Life goes on. No problem”.Just a lesson. IT´S O.K. this year has been amazing for him.No one can win all the time. He will have many more years producing fabolous performance.He continued to play awesome since Madrid.What´s more we can expect of him? I know but for a fanatic fan it´s sad…People here in Argentina think this mean a great deal “A new star”,”Delpo dethroned”…”Not Nadal but”…all the stupid press…is not easy for me, nobody is like him… However yor post helped me…Thanks Ru-an.

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      Ru-an Reply: I know Ines me and you are fanatical fans that’s for sure and I know it’s not easy. That is why I’m so glad to have all your comments and yours in particular ;-) I felt bad today when i woke up but after making another post i already feel better again. At least we have each other…

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    1. Roger is still currently the best player & no. 1. However, it is very likely that those total domination years are past us. Ruling the tennis world like Sampras did (1 GS/year, 2 at the most) is still very possible. Yes, I wished for more domination but I guess it’s unrealistic now. Having mentioned that, I also expect that Nadal’s total clay domination to end… if not already ended. There are lots of younger opponents w/ great games emerging, JMDP is one of the primes. These youngsters have years to improve, while the present generation (Fed, Nadal) are very likely to decline, hopefully only very slightly. Djoker can improve, perhaps also Murray, JMDP definitely. JMDP looks like the enhanced version of Safin without the mental problems. Hopefully JMDP can build on this, and not follow Safin’s path. US Open win over Sampras just apparently ruined his career path. JMDP… so far he’s got excellent mental attitude. He is a humble, innocent, gentle giant. Keep it up, improve it, and learn more English! Language is very important to get more love from the fans. I regard Nadal as in Roger’s generation because of his physically punishing game. It is very unlikely that at 27-28 (Roger’s age now), Rafa will still be at the top of his game. Just look at his numerous injury maladies. It happens every single year since 2005 and every year it’s getting worse.

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    1. Hey Ruan, I have to say I appreciated your call on the US Final, much more so than Bodo’s, which seemed to suggest a changing of the guards from Federer to Del Potro. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Delpo fan and even believed he would win, but I was there at the match and it never felt like a blow out. It was really tight all the way to the 5th set. It was an emotional roller coaster ride and Delpo won, I believe, because he maintained his composure and hit those key shots in the 4th. BTW, the Open aired great championship moments throughout the match on the changeovers and some time in the 2nd set, they aired Guillermo Villas’s win. I thought at the time, “if this doesn’t give Delpo a wallop of confidence and hope, I don’t what will!” Then he won that 2nd set, kinda spooky! Anyway, I love your analyses. Best, Trish

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      Ru-an Reply: Hi Trish. I didnt expect anything less from Bodo and co. Changing of the guard LMAO! Roger lost the match cos he got careless at 5-4 and 30-0 in the second set. For that reason and that reason alone. Bodo doesnt know tennis from his arse. Thanks for the comment :D
 

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