Federer surges past del Potro
The best two players in the world will meet in the final of the Rolex Shanghai Masters on Sunday
Roger Federer guaranteed a 38th showdown with his arch-rival, Rafael Nadal, by recovering from a set down to oust Juan Martin del Potro 3-6 6-3 6-3.
The Swiss, who has won all three clashes with Nadal this season, will go in search of a 94th career title at a venue where he tasted success three years ago.
There were doubts regarding del Potro’s fitness after he tripped and fell on his troublesome left wrist in his victory over Viktor Troicki on Friday evening, but he quickly allayed fears by making an explosive start.
The Argentine, who is yet to triumph at a Masters event, was faultless in the first set. He made 69% of first serves, cracked eight aces and returned with depth and precision.
Del Potro grabbed the break of serve his play merited in the sixth game. The Swiss nudged a backhand beyond the baseline to fall 4-2 behind and his serve had been breached for just the third time in the tournament.
The Argentine, who will return to the Top 20 on Monday after a three-year absence, was enjoying his time on Stadium Court and he deservedly claimed the opening stanza by six games to three.
Federer had been thoroughly outplayed, but he responded impressively in the second set. The 36-year-old was dominant behind his delivery, forceful from the baseline and constantly probing for a breakthrough.
Del Potro’s first serve percentage had dipped slightly and he was being made to work hard to keep his opponent at bay. Federer, as has often been the case throughout his career, squandered a number of break-chances before eventually making his superiority count.
In a protracted sixth game, the Argentine pulled a forehand into the tramlines to drop serve for the first time in the match and fall 4-2 behind.
The pro-Federer crowd greeted the breakthrough with an ear-splitting roar - and it did not take del Potro long to become irritated with the exuberance emanating from the stands.
Federer was in complete control and although he was uanble to nab another break, it did not matter. He bagged the second set by six games to three and a decider was required.
Federer had been outstanding in the second set and he carried his good form into the decider. He was the grateful recipient of a costly forehand miss from his opponent in the third game as he achieved a break of serve and a 2-1 lead.
Del Potro failed to muster a satisfactory response after slipping behind and his challenge quickly fizzled out. Federer managed to break his rival once more to make it 17 wins from 23 meetings with his friend and rival.