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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, October 13, 2017

Juan Martin del Potro

Juan Martin del Potro defeated Viktor Troicki, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, advancing to his first Masters semifinal in four years in Shanghai.

Photo credit: Shanghai Rolex Masters

Decisive strikes launched Juan Martin del Potro into his first Masters 1000 semifinal in four years.

A jarring fall cast uncertainty over his fitness for a final push.

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Del Potro withstood a third-set tumble to the court that rattled his surgically-repaired wrist and a stubborn Viktor Troicki, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, advancing to the Shanghai Rolex Masters final four.

It is del Potro’s first Masters semifinal since the 2013 Shanghai when he defeated Rafael Nadal en route to the Shanghai final.

However, the concern etched on the 29-year-old Argentine’s face as he left the court—and the news del Potro was headed to a local hospital for an MRI on his wrist—cast an ominous shadow over what should have been a celebratory moment.

Del Potro showed resilience after today's fall, but can he rise again tomorrow?

Del Potro, who will return to the ATP Top 20 for the first time since October 6, 2014 on Monday, is scheduled to face either second-ranked Roger Federer or Richard Gasquet for a place in the final—if he’s healthy enough to give it a go.

Deadlocked at 2-all, 15-all in the decisive set, del Potro was trying to run around his backhand and hit a forehand when his left foot stuck to the court. The 6-foot-6 baseliner toppled to the court jamming his left wrist to the court as he tried to brace his fall.

Sitting near the baseline clutching his wrist, a grim del Potro, who has undergone four wrist surgeries in his career, eventually rose and sat on a linesperson’s chair as the trainer came out to treat his wrist.

After treatment, del Potro resumed play and hit some vicious forehands in an effort to end points quickly. A crackling crosscourt forehand winner earned him break point. Del Potro drilled another forehand crosscourt breaking for 3-2.

The tournament doctor came out on the ensuing changeover to administer medication. Del Potro thumped his eighth ace for match point then slashed a service winner, raising his record against Troicki to 7-0 while confronting concerns over his condition.

“I hope you feel better,” Troicki said in the post-match handshake, prompting del Potro to an eyebrow-raising response.

A red-hot Rafael Nadal Nadal scored his 15th consecutive win with a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov. It was Nadal’s second three-set win over Dimitrov in a week following his victory in the Beijing semifinals on Saturday. The top seed is 10-1 lifetime vs. Dimitrov, who pushed Nadal to five sets in the Australian Open semifinals.

It was Nadal’s 870th career victory tying him with Andre Agassi for sixth place on the Open Era career wins list.

The world No. 1 will play Marin Cilic in a semifinal clash of the current and former US Open champions. Cilic swept Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-3, 6-4. The Wimbledon finalist will rise to a career-high No. 4 in the rankings on Monday.

Sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Nadal has beaten Cilic four times in five meetings, including a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing in the Acapulco semifinals earlier this season.


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