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By: John Palmer
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New Star On The Tennis Circuit - Juan Martin Del Potro

It was all change at the 2009 U.S. Open Men's Tennis Final this year - number six seed Juan Martin del Potro defeated Roger Federer in a battle that went five sets and lasted four hours. The Grand Slam final saw Federer start strong and del Potro nervous at the beginning. However, the 20 year-old Argentine gained confidence as the match progressed and secured victory.

The Men's Final was notable for who wasn't standing on center court on Monday. Most prognosticators envisioned a Rafael Nadal versus Roger Federer match to close out the tournament. However, the script changed in the semi-finals when del Potro beat Spain's Nadal in straight sets.

Switzerland's Federer won his semi-final match in straight sets beating Djokovic of Serbia. This set up the showdown with del Potro at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York. Federer, five-time defending champion of the tournament, looked to add another notch in his U.S. Open belt. Bill Tilden garnered six consecutive American Grand Slam tournament victories from 1920 to 1925.

For Rafael Nadal, a stomach area injury saw him head to Majorca after his semi-final match. He will undergo some tests there this week on his right abdomen. Nadal just recently returned from a knee injury after recuperating on his home island. He was not able to defend his Wimbledon title this year, and fans needed to get out a map of Majorca to see where he was.

For Monday's U.S. Open Final, it didn't begin well for Juan Martin del Potro. He made a significant number of unforced errors early in the match. However, Roger Federer did not take advantage of del Potro's early jitters. He converted only five of the 22 break points that came his way.

Del Potro admitted that he was missing with his serve, which is an important weapon in his tennis arsenal. He recovered in the second set of the match, after losing the first set to Federer 6-3. The Argentine had a ruling go his way in this set. Federer lost a line call, which the electronic review awarded to del Potro.

This seemed to awaken del Potro to a new confidence in his abilities. He battled Federer hard and forced a tiebreak in this second set. Del Potro won the tiebreak 7-5 and this energized him for the rest of the match.

Even losing a tight third set did not deter del Potro in his quest to dethrone Federer. He had the misfortune of committing a couple of double faults in the third set. Federer took advantage of these to take the set and the match lead.

It was the fourth set where the Argentine showed his strengths and focused concentration. With this set tied 4-4, Federer took the lead with a strong backhand. He then got del Potro in a position where Federer only needed two points to win the Championship.

Del Potro didn't crumble under the pressure. He scored an ace and a forehand shot down the line as well. He battled Federer and forced the fourth set into a tiebreaker. Federer then committed two forehand errors in the tiebreaker, which cost him this set.

With momentum in del Potro's favor, the fifth set was less difficult for him. He broke Federer's serve early in this set. This was through a blistering forehand passing shot that went cross-court. This gave del Potro a 2-0 lead. He subsequently fought Federer harder and another impressive forehand gave del Potro the set and the title.

The loss was the first one in 41 matches at Flushing Meadows for Roger Federer. This year, Federer won the French Open and Wimbledon Championship. He has the distinction of holding the all-time record for men's singles with 15 Grand Slam titles.

Juan Martin del Potro began playing tennis when he was six-years old. This was in Tandil, located outside of Buenos Aires in Argentina. By the time he was 17, he was the youngest on the tour to finish the season in the Top 200. The next year, he was the youngest player on the tour to finish the season in the Top 100.

With his U.S. Open showing, del Potro is the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer back-to-back at a major. One of his strengths is his return shots of great force. The challenge now for del Potro is to build on this and his other strengths for consistent performance.

Del Potro stated after the match that he came to the U.S. Open with two goals in mind. One was, of course, to win the title. The second was, and still is, to be like Roger Federer. He humbly stated that major improvement is still the order of the day before he can achieve his second goal. Tennis can only be the better for it, as he works towards this for upcoming tennis tournaments.
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