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Del Potro defeats Federer to win US Open

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro (photo) beat five-time defending champion Roger Federer (3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2) on Monday to win his first US Open title in a sensational match lasting over four hours.


AFP - Juan Martin del Potro dethroned five-time defending champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to capture the US Open on Monday, ending an era to win in his first Grand Slam final.

Firing consistent winners, the 1.98m Argentine giant kept the pressure upon the player many hail as the greatest in tennis history, one he had never beaten in six prior attempts, and won a shocker after four hours and six minutes.

"It's the best sensation in my life," Del Potro said. "I dreamed of this, taking this trophy, and now I did my dream. It's an unbelievable moment. It's amazing. It's perfect. I can't believe it.

"Maybe next week I'll believe in this."

The stunner made Del Potro only the second South American to win the US Open men's crown, after countryman Guillermo Vilas in 1977, and denied Swiss world number one Federer a 16th career Slam crown and sixth US Open title in a row.

"Life goes on. No problem," Federer said. "It has been an amazing run for me. Six would have been a dream too, but you can't have them all."

Sixth seed Del Potro, who turns 21 next week, snapped Federer's 41-match unbeaten streak on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts to win 1.85 million dollars and destroyed the Swiss superstar's aura of US Open invincibility.

"When I broke his serve for the first time I started to believe in my game and it started to change," Del Potro said.

"To beat Roger for the first time in my favorite Grand Slam, down two sets to one, it's the best final ever in my life."

Del Potro led Federer by two sets in the French Open semi-finals before the Swiss rallied for a dramatic five-set victory.

But there was no such escape this time.

"I had chances to win but couldn't take them," Federer said. "You can't just push a button. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't."

Federer was pushed into a fifth set for only the third time since the start of his championship run, the other times being against Andre Agassi in the 2004 quarter-finals and in last year's round of 16 against Igor Andreev.

Del Potro zipped a forehand crosscourt winner past Federer for a break and a 2-0 lead in the final set and denied the top seed on a break chance in the third game on his way to a 5-2 lead.

Federer served to stay in the match but found himself down two match points, both squandered by Del Potro with a wide forehand and a netted backhand.

But Federer's 11th double fault gave Del Potro another chance and he made the most of it, winning when Federer sent a forehand over the baseline.

Del Potro fell to the court on his back and began to cry.

"When I lay down to the floor, many things come to my mind - my family, my friends, and I will go home with the trophy," he said.

Federer lost his cool as well as his crown, the usually mild-mannered master shotmaker cursing at umpire Jake Garner during a third-set changeover for being told to be quiet after arguing about Del Potro taking too long to challenges.

"Don't tell me to be quiet, OK," Federer said. "When I want to talk, I talk. I don't give a shit what you say."

Federer broke Del Potro in the next game to claim the set but could not go the distance, leaving Bill Tilden's US Open record run of six titles in a row from 1920 through 1925 intact.

Federer was two points from taking the second set in the 10th game before Del Potro fought back to break and took the tie-break to equalize.

"That one cost me the match maybe," Federer said. "I thought I had him under control for the first two sets. I was in a great position. If I had won that second set, I think I would have come through, but I didn't."

Federer struggled with his first-serve percentage, hitting only 50 percent for the match to 65 percent for Del Potro and converting only 5-of-22 break chances. Del Potro fired 37 forehand winners, 17 more than Federer.

"There was a good feeling with my forehand," Del Potro said. "That was the key to the match."

Del Potro and Federer exchanged breaks in the seventh and eighth games of the third set before Federer held to 5-4, then broke after his eruption, Del Potro's sixth double fault surrendering the set.

"I started to think bad things. It was so difficult but I kept fighting," Del Potro said. "I think, 'You never lose until the last point.'"

Federer never led in the fourth-set tie-breaker, losing the first three points, rallying to 5-4 to come within three points of victory, then sending two forehands wide.

"I had many more chances to make a difference but tough luck. Del Potro was the better man," Federer said. "Can't win them all."

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