• US Open, Day 11

Classy Djokovic too hot for Del Potro

ESPN staff
September 6, 2012
Novak Djokovic stoops to play a volley © Getty Images

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Novak Djokovic's sizzling US Open form continued with a commanding straight-sets win over Juan Martin Del Potro.

Djokovic had lost only 20 games leading up to his quarter-final and although he was handed his first test of the tournament, he proved good for the No. 7 seed.

There were epic points and epic games in a match that spanned over three hours but at the crucial moments Djokovic came up with the big shots to seal a 6-2 7-6(3) 6-4 win and a meeting with David Ferrer in the semi-finals.

Djokovic started brightly, hitting lines with regularity. Del Potro came through a tough early hold, he needed a couple of aces, but was broken one game later as Djokovic got a read on his first serves and battered away from the baseline.

The defending champion came under pressure in the seventh game, but he won a brutal 31-shot rally at 30-all and followed it up with a backhand winner to hold.

Del Potro came up with a couple of huge serves in the eighth game but he was unable to fend off a second break, as he missed a backhand down the line and then saw a brilliant return of serve land at his feet which Djokovic followed up with a sumptuous drop shot on set point.

Djokovic flew through the first set, but he came back down to earth with a thud at the start of the second. A massive forehand return from Del Potro rattled the No. 2 seed and in attempting to force a second serve, he double faulted to hand Del Potro a break.

Del Potro was involved in a massive game on Arthur Ashe Stadium in the previous round when ending the career of Andy Roddick. The crowd did not hold that against him, as they willed him to get back into the match. He bossed the second set, hitting hard and clean after stepping up on to the baseline, but some brilliant defending from Djokovic at 4-5 down earned him a break back. He made a service return that landed on the line, was chasing all over the back of the court and kept getting the ball back and it frustrated Del Potro into firing the ball over the baseline to hand the break back.

Del Potro won a 17-minute 12th game, saving three set points, to take the set into a tiebreak and he got ahead early but Djokovic broke back and then won a wonderful ninth point to go 6-3 ahead. He teased and tormented Del Potro with drop shots and lobs, which the Argentinian kept tracking down, but the final drop shot proved too good. And he then produced a stunning backhand at full stretch for a clean winner to take the second set.

There was a delay to the start of the third set as Del Potro went off court, certainly to change his clothes but quite probably to clear his head. It did not do much good as he was broken immediately.

Djokovic did not look entirely comfortable in the third, after appearing to strain something when sliding for a ball, but he protected his early break superbly to close out the match.

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