Argentina’s Juan Martín del Potro has emerged victorious from his quarterfinal match against American John Isner, defeating him 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2. Del Potro is ranked No. 3 in the world, and Isner is ranked No. 11. Isner was the last American man left in the Open. No U.S. man has made the semifinals since Andy Roddick in 2006, and that streak will continue until at least 2019.
With both competitors standing over six feet tall, there was a lot of power on display at the match. The first set was a tight contest, with Isner and del Potro going back and forth and forcing a tiebreak. Isner eventually won the tiebreak on one of his signature aces and took the first set 7-6.
Del Potro took the first game of the second set. Isner tied, but then he seemed to hit a wall. He struggled in the heat and humidity, surrendering three straight games to del Potro. He looked completely gassed. Down 4-1, Isner could have started to manage his effort on a set he seemed destined to lose, but he kept fighting through the fatigue and made del Potro work. He won two more games but surrendered the set 6-3.
Isner found his second wind in the third set, and the two competitors fought to a 6-6 tiebreak, which del Potro won. With the advantage, del Potro dominated Isner in the final set, defeating him 6-2.
In the end, heat and tiredness did Isner in. He made a stunning 51 unforced errors, while del Potro made only 14. His exhaustion definitely contributed to those, but it also affected his serve. Isner’s serve is his strength, but he lost some serious velocity off of it as the match progressed and he got more and more tired.
Del Potro, 29, won the 2009 U.S. Open, and is having a bit of a resurgence. He’s ranked at No. 3 in the world, which is a career high. It’s a triumph after undergoing a number of reconstructive wrist surgeries, but his win on Tuesday is the immediate triumph. He now heads to the semifinals, and will face the winner of the Tuesday night match between Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem.
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