A fantastic summation of the match from the New York Times today:
Del Potro Stuns Federer to Win Open
By Geoff Macdonald
Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times
Juan Martín del Potro defeated Roger Federer in five sets.
Juan Martín del Potro of Argentina did what seemed to be the unthinkable on Monday night, beating Roger Federer in a dramatic five-set match to win the United States Open for his first major championship, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.
The big-serving, 6-foot-6 del Potro ended Federer’s remarkable string of five consecutive Open singles championships and, at 20 years old, signaled that he is ready to challenge Federer and Rafael Nadal, whom del Potro beat in the semifinal on Sunday to reach the final, as the game’s top player.
The match began as many others had for Federer at this year’s Open. Having lost only two sets against six opponents before facing del Potro, Federer had little trouble winning the first set, 6-3, and seemed to be on track to add to his record 15 career Grand Slam championships.
But late in the second set, del Potro won a challenge on a passing shot that was called out. This seemed to unnerve Federer — who has voiced his displeasure with the Hawk-Eye replay system — and it took him until the end of the third set before he regained his equilibrium.
By the fourth set, del Potro had established his rhythm and power, his serve reaching 138 miles an hour. In the crucial tie-breaker at the end of the fourth set, del Potro took a 3-0 lead, and then overpowered Federer to win the tie-breaker, 7-4.
Del Potro then jumped to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set, and, in a reversal of roles, it was the 20-year-old who had the champion Federer measured for victory. With a final shot by Federer that went long, the championship belonged to del Potro.
It has been a remarkable rise for del Potro, who went from No. 65 in July 2008 to No. 6 in the world today. Now, with a United States Open title, he said, “I don’t have words to explain.”
Fifth Set: Del Potro 5, Federer 2
As well as Federer served at Wimbledon, he is woeful in this match. He opens with a double fault then hits two wicked forehands that del Potro couldn’t touch. An easy hold for Federer. Now it’s del Potro serving to get closer to the championship. Fed misfires on an inside out forehand to go down 15-0. A slow spinning serve befuddles the Fed and he muffs it long. 30-0. 40-0 and del Potro holds with yet another superb forehand winner. Can Federer hold again? Can del Potro?
Fifth Set: Del Potro 4, Federer 1
It was 15-15 on Federer’s serve as Federer’s serving problems continue. He moves to 30-15 after a forcing forehand, then to 40-15 after another serve and forehand combo. He holds to win his first game of the fifth set. At 15-0 for del Potro in the next game, Federer wrongfoots del Potro to draw even. The two each make mistakes to tie the game at 30-30. A strong inside-out forehand brings del Potro to game point. He holds as Fed sprays a backhand wide.
Fifth Set: Del Potro 3, Federer 0
Federer stumbles and is broken when Del Potro hammers a cross-court forehand pass to break. At 15-15 on del Potro’s serve, Federer unleashes an astonishing backhand down the line that del Potro falls trying to make a volley. Often a fall can signal a slight momentum change. At 30-30, he makes a rare forehand error. But del Potro saves break point when Federer misses a backhand long. At deuce, he hit a good serve then finished with a strong forehand down the line that went untouched. Another first serve puts the 20-year-old del Potro halfway to the title.
Fifth Set: Del Potro 1, Federer 0
A solid hold for del Potro, with Federer looking once again irritated. He flailed wildly at a couple of ground strokes to give del Potro a fairly easy hold. Which Federer will we see? Will he grow despondent as he did against Nadal in the Australian? Or hang on with guts as he did to beat Roddick?
Del Potro Wins Fourth Set, 7-6
Match Is Tied
After holding with authority, del Potro goes up, 1-0, in the tie-breaker on Federer’s double fault. He hits two forehand winners to go up, 3-0. Federer benefits from an unforced backhand mistake by del Potro, then hits an ace to draw to within a point at 3-2. Del Potro wins the next point with a backhand down the line that Federer mistimed and hit wide cross-court. Del Potro won the next point after Federer missed just long on a backhand down the line. Federer held his two points to get to 4-5. Del Potro goes up, 6-4, when Fed misses wide on a forehand. Set to del Potro as Fed misfires wide again. What a match!
Fourth Set: Federer 6, Del Potro 5
Del Potro holds by returning to some big serving on clutch points, then finishing the game with a thunderous down-the-line forehand. Federer looks contained, composed. He jumps to a 40-0 lead, but del Potro responds with some unbelievable shot-making. Federer saves the first break point with a superb defensive get. He hangs on through an incredible onslaught of del Potro firepower and holds to go up, 6-5.
Fourth Set: Federer 5, Del Potro 4
Del Potro appeared to be cruising on his service game, getting up 30 love easily. But Federer used his chip backhand to make del Potro bend and a couple of unforced errors knotted the score. A good backhand volley by the Fed gave him break point, and, remarkably, he broke del Potro to reach 4 all. He then held with gathering confidence, exploding on a cross-court backhand to clinch the game.
Fourth Set: Del Potro 4, Federer 3
Del Potro wins a scintillating 21-stroke rally, then wins over the crowd by high-fiving kids in the first row. Now he looks in control of the match as he holds to go up, 4-2. But Federer rights his ship with a tough hold. Once again, a del Potro challenge reverses a point for Federer and a momentary look of deep annoyance crosses Federer’s face.
Fourth Set: Del Potro 3, Federer 2
Despite his height, del Potro serve appears to be slowing. He saves a break point with a fine forehand cross-court, and holds for 2-2. On Federer’s serve, del Potro opens with two bludgeoning forehands to get to 0-30. Two unforced errors by Federer give the break to del Potro. What could have been a 4-1 lead for Federer is now a 3-2 lead for del Potro.
Fourth Set: Federer 2, Del Potro 1
Del Potro saves two break points, and holds with a 100-mph forehand cross-court winner. Federer responds with good serving and aggressive play. A factor in the match could be conditioning. Recall that del Potro grew fatigued last month in the Montreal final against Andy Murray. Look for Federer to move del Potro. But what awesome ball striking, especially from del Potro.
Fourth Set: Federer 1, Del Potro 0
Serving first, Federer holds and looks to have recovered his mental ballast. Will del Potro be able to let go of his lost opportunities in the third set? Can the Fed capitalize on the changing momentum?
Federer Wins Third Set, 6-4
Federer Leads, Two Sets to One
An unusual break gives Federer the third set. Del Potro missed another easy overhead, then a letcord winner off of a rare forehand underspin approach shot gave Federer a 0-30 lead. Del Potro tied the score at 30-30 before seriously blinking and hitting two double faults to give Federer the third set. What a strange, emotional, dramatic set of tennis. Del Potro has hit a handful of forehands harder than seems possible.
Third Set: Federer 5, Del Potro 4
An old adage in tennis says that you haven’t broken until you’ve held. Del Potro got broken by Federer after his first loose game since early in the second set. Federer let out a warrior’s whoop after securing the break. A very important turn in the match. Federer seems to have regained his service rhythm, but del Potro continues to hit with blistering force. Federer saves a break point and again yells to celebrate. He holds, but gets upset when del Potro challenges a sideline call after a delay. On the changeover, Federer exchanges angry words with the chair umpire Jake Garner for allowing del Potro so much time.
Third Set: Del Potro 4, Federer 3
Del Potro holds with ease and knots the score at 3-3. Federer raises his first-serve percentage and starts the game with two forehand winners. Then, at 30-0, Federer committed two unforced errors, mis**tting a forehand and then a backhand to get del Potro to 30-30. Another two unforced errors and del Potro seizes the break. Federer looks profoundly frustrated.
Third Set: Federer 3, Del Potro 2
Federer will lose this match if he can’t find a way to let go of what he perceives as the unjust overrule by Hawk-Eye. Del Potro, by contrast, looks fresh and energized. He fails to capitalize on Federer’s funk, which could come back to haunt him. Who can raise his level and win this pivotal set? Del Potro looks to be playing better, but Federer has hung on. Remarkably, the crowd seems to favor the young Argentine.
Third Set: Federer 2, Del Potro 1
Del Potro holds easily, with Federer mis-hitting several shots in the tricky wind. He still seems angry. His body language has changed from an enthusiastic artist showcasing his talents, to an upset, almost petulant look as he tries to regain his emotional equilibrium. After turning away a del Potro break point, Federer holds, but he is fortunate to be up at this point of the third set.
Third Set: Federer 1, Del Potro 0
For Federer, this was important game to hold serve. He needs to get past the disappointment of losing the second set, which was achingly close to being in his column. A huge factor in the match will be who handles his emotions better.
Del Potro Wins the Second Set, 7-6 (5)
Match Is Tied
The extraordinary mental toughness of Roger Federer was tested as much by Hawk-Eye as by his heavy-hitting opponent, Juan Martin Del Potro. The two split the first six points, then switched ends of the court. Del Potro served at 4-3 with the wind at his back, and hit a huge first ball forehand winner followed by a backhand winner up the line to move to 6-3. With the set on his racket, the Argentine badly misplayed an overhead, then missed long on a ground stroke. At 6-5, he converted on his third set point with a bid inside-out forehand that brought the crowd to its feet. The match is tied at one set apiece, and we’ve got a great match unfolding.
Second Set: Del Potro 6, Federer 6
Federer still seems miffed by the Hawk-Eye overrule. He challenges a call himself — unsuccessfully — which is his way of showing his disdain for Hawk-Eye. Nonetheless, he holds, and we’re in a tie-breaker.
Second Set: Del Potro 6, Federer 5
Two thread-the-needle forehand passing shots down the line give del Potro a break. He looks visibly more confident, and his ground strokes have gained force. At 30-30 on Federer’s serve, the ball was called out by the linesman, but del Potro won after challenging the call. This irked Federer, who has let his displeasure with the Hawk-Eye instant replay system be known.
Second Set: Federer 5, Del Potro 4
After a mis-hit forehand to go down, 0-15, Federer hits three straight first serves to go up, 40-15. Another mis-hit forehand, followed by an aggressive approach and forehand volley winner bring del Potro to deuce. But Federer again attacked the net, hitting a tough shoestring backhand volley which the Argentine ripped just wide on a forehand down the line passing shot. Federer’s serve continues to be erratic, but he holds after two unforced errors by del Potro. It’s a missed opportunity for del Potro. But he holds at love to set up the dramatic moment in the match.
Second Set: Federer 4, Del Potro 3
The blustery conditions on court have hurt both players on their first serves. Federer holds with an ace –- only his third of the match. Del Potro holds relatively easily, in what seemed like the quickest two games of the match. Federer is two service holds away from a two-set lead. Can del Potro break him and make a match of this? Can Federer hold him off and jump out to a huge lead?
Second Set: Federer 3, Del Potro 2
Federer continues to attack the net, but plays his first loose service game, he gets down, 15-40, on a misplayed volley and a forehand pulled wide. Fed digs in though, and forces del Potro to commit three errors. At deuce, after an apparent Federer ace, the point is replayed when del Potro claimed he wasn’t ready, and the Argentine got to break point. Federer holds, however and del Potro is beginning to show some frustration. On del Potro’s serve, he nails three big serves to get to 40-15, but Federer chipped and looped in some brilliant counterpunching to even the score at deuce. A successful challenge of an apparent del Potro ace up the T –- a rare occurrence for Federer — got him to break point. The two battled through a long game, with del Potro finally holding to keep himself just one break down.
Second Set: Federer 2, Del Potro 1
This is the most Federer has come to the net in a Grand Slam final. He is using drop shots, lobs, stop volleys and all three spins to befuddle the powerful del Potro, who has yet to find his rhythm. The serve looks forced , but he steadies himself to hold. Federer plays a behind the back half volley which del Potro puts away on game point.
Federer Wins the First Set, 6-3
Federer is using the chip off both sides to neutralize when del Potro is ripping the ball. A stealthy sneak forward followed by a deft drop volley got Fed to 0-30. Del Potro saved three set points at 0-40, with Federer playing a bit too many touch shots. A double fault on the first point at 5-3 by Federer gave del Potro a brief opening, but he could not capitalize, and Federer holds at fifteen.
First Set: Federer 5, Del Potro 2
A surprise chip and charge on del Potro’s second serve worked beautifully, and Federer attacked the net again to get to 30 all. Federer has the Argentine off balance and uncertain tactically, but del Potro staves off a break point with a strong point from the baseline followed by two unreturnable serves. The lost break chance seems to have shifted momentum to del Potro, as Federer’s first serve percentage dropped and del Potro jumped out to a 0-30 lead. A great second serve at 30-30 and an inside in forehand winner gave Fed the game.
First Set: Federer 4, Del Potro 1
After a solid hold from del Potro, the Argentine pulled back to return from a deeper position. Federer is not giving del Potro any angles, waiting for the right ball to move the 6-foot-6 del Potro into the corner. A sweet drop shot by Federer followed a sharply angled pass to get to 30-love. An athletic scissor kick overhead clinched the game.
First Set: Federer 3, Del Potro 0
Federer breaks del Potro in a long game, hitting two astonishing shots on the run to earn the break. Federer is hitting a lot of balls deep up the middle to handcuff the Argentine. Federer is also slicing his backhand to blunt del Potro’s pace and keep the ball low. Trouble for del Potro if his first serve woes continue.