NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Juan Martin del Potro ended Roger Federer’s hopes of a third major this year and a dream semi-final with Rafa Nadal, stunning the Swiss at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
The Argentine, who beat Federer in the 2009 final at Flushing Meadows for his only grand slam, produced a gritty repeat show to prevail 7-5 3-6 7-6(8) 6-4 in under three hours.
Federer and Nadal have played 37 times but never in New York and all eyes were on the 19-times grand slam winner after the Spaniard cruised past Russian teenager Andrey Rublev 6-1 6-2 6-2.
However, Del Potro had other ideas, pulling off big forehands and booming serves to unsettle his rival to set up a semi-final with world number one Nadal.
“Of course it is a pity but, you know, Juan Martin deserves it more. I feel I have no place in the semis and he will have a better chance to beat Rafa, to be honest,” Federer said.
After CoCo Vandeweghe shocked world number one Karolina Pliskova 7-6(4) 6-3, Madison Keys completed an American sweep of the women’s quarter-finals beating Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 to join Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens in the next round.
“It’s really amazing, not only for myself but just for American tennis,” Keys said. “I‘m really excited and you know, proud of all of us for getting this far and having it going to be USA all the way.”
Highlights from day 10 of the U.S. Open tennis championships on Wednesday (times GMT):
- Juan Martin del Potro defeated Roger Federer 7-5 3-6 7-6(8) 6-4 to set up a semi-final with Rafa Nadal.
- Del Potro fired 12 aces and hit 48 winners to come through in the clash that lasted two hours, 50 minutes.
- Federer committed 41 unforced errors in the match.
- Madison Keys beat Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 to reach her first U.S. Open semi-finals.
- The 15th seed joins fellow Americans Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and CoCo Vandeweghe in the final four.
Nadal schools young Russian, awaits Federer
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Vandeweghe knocks world number one Pliskova out of U.S. Open
U.S. Open order of play on Wednesday
- Czech pair Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova edged past Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and China’s Xu Yifan 6-3 2-6 6-4 to reach the women’s doubles semi-finals.
Safarova won the U.S. Open doubles title with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands last year.
- Top seed Rafael Nadal fired 21 winners to claim a 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory over 19-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals.
World number 53 Rublev struggled to find his touch as he committed 43 unforced errors during the contest.
Nadal reached the final four at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013 and will face Juan Martin del Potro or Roger Federer on Friday.
- Coco Vandeweghe became the third American to seal a women’s semi-final spot after beating world number one Karolina Pliskova 7-6(4) 6-3.
- Vandeweghe progressed to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open for the first time and also reached that stage at the Australian Open earlier this year.
- The 25-year-old will face the winner of the match between compatriot Madison Keys and Estonian Kaia Kanepi, with a win for Keys guaranteeing an all-American semi-finals.
- World number one Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic faces American Coco Vandeweghe in the first of four quarter-final matches being played at the Arthur Ashe stadium.
- Men’s world number one Rafa Nadal takes on Russian teenager Andrey Rublev in the second match followed by American Madison Keys’s match against Estonian Kaia Kanepi.
- Third-seeded Swiss Roger Federer plays Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro in the final singles match of the day. (Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar, Hardik Vyas and Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Clare Fallon and Toby Davis)