(November 10, 2012) -- Roger Federer spent much of 2012 dominating Juan Martin del Potro. Six straight wins, two in the Slams and one heartbreaker at the Olympics, left Del Potro with the feeling that maybe he’d never defeat Federer again.
But on Saturday, Del Potro’s 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3 win over the Swiss Maestro has landed the Argentine in the semifinals of the World Tour Finals and helped put an end to a year’s worth of frustration for Del Potro against Federer.
The Argentine’s second win over Federer in three weeks pushes his record against top ten opposition to 8-13 on the season.
Del Potro had to work himself out of trouble to reach a first set tiebreaker. He faced two break points while serving at 3-4, saving the first with an ace and the second with a blistered forehand that clipped the line and caught Federer off guard.
After missing a forehand wide at deuce, Del Potro saved the third break point of the game when Federer missed a routine forehand long.
Federer dropped two points on his serve, shanking a forehand on the second, to give Del Potro a 4-1 lead in the first-set tiebreaker.
Federer, who hit 42 unforced errors on the day against 43 winners, missed two backhands on the next two points, and even though he saved two set points on serve, Del Potro took the breaker 7-3.
In the second set, Federer capitalized on his only break opportunity, breaking Del Potro at love in the first game, and riding his serve for the rest of the set, losing only five points from the service stripe all set.
In the third set, it was Del Potro who raced out to an early lead. The big man shoveled a backhand passing shot past Federer down the line to earn his first break point of the afternoon, then outlasted Federer in a long rally, goading the backhand error for a 2-0 lead.
It was a lead that Del Potro, now 20-3 indoors with three titles in 2012, would not relinquish. He losst only two points on serve in the decider, and held in the final game with ease.
The winner of Group A will be determined after this evening’s match between David Ferrer and Janko Tipsarevic. If Tipsarevic wins, Del Potro will win the group based on his victory over Federer. If Ferrer wins, Federer will win the group.
The winner of the group will face Andy Murray on Sunday, with the loser facing top-ranked Novak Djokovic.