Juan Martin del Potro overcame a slow start and solved the challenge posed by David Ferrer 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday at the US Open. The 2009 US Open champion is into the second week at a Grand Slam event for the first time since Wimbledon 2013 by prevailing in two hours and 24 minutes. Del Potro has yet to drop a set in Flushing Meadows this year.
“I got stronger mentally after the first set. Against David you never know when the match is going to finish. He never gives up,” del Potro said. “It’s a pleasure to play against him because he puts me under pressure all the time. I needed to play my best tennis today.”
The wily Ferrer came into the match with a specific gameplan and targeted del Potro’s weaker backhand wing during baseline exchanges. Ferrer’s heavy hitting forced the towering Argentine outside of the sidelines and forced him to chip the ball defensively, producing easy put-away volleys for the Spaniard.
Ferrer’s early offensive took him to 5-2 in the opening set, but it was all del Potro thereafter. The former World No. 4 stepping on returns to break back, then won the first-set tie-break without dropping a point on his serve to move ahead for good. The 6’6” del Potro’s serving was a major asset, as he fired five aces in the last two sets (six total) and did not face break point the rest of the way.
“I think I did really well in the second and the third sets. I’m so glad to be in the second week after three years. It means a lot of good things to me,” del Potro said. “Of course, I’m looking forward to keep winning. But my next opponent will be really difficult.”
With the win, del Potro improved to 4-6 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against Ferrer. Next up will be No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem. Del Potro won his lone tour-level meeting with the Austrian on the clay of Madrid earlier this year.
“It will depend on my body, on my game. If I play like I did today, I will have a chance to play a great match against him. But he’s playing really well. He’s very dangerous. His backhand is so good. His movements are really fast. It will be an interesting match for me.”