ATP Tour

Federer beats Del Potro, sets up Nadal showdown

Roger Federer (AP)
Roger Federer (AP)

Cape Town - Timeless Roger Federer fought back from a set down to beat Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday and tee up a Shanghai Masters final against old rival Rafael Nadal.

The celebrated duo have faced one another 37 times, with the Spaniard and world number one Nadal winning 23 of their contests.

And the 31-year-old Nadal, who has never won the Shanghai Masters, will be slight favourite this time because he goes into the showdown on a terrific run of form, and his opponent faces a quicker turn around.

Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, triumphed at the US Open and then last week at the China Open for his sixth title of another remarkable campaign.

But he was forced to survive a rollercoaster with fourth seed Marin Cilic in their semi-final, saving three set points in the opener before pulling through 7-5, 7-6 (7/3).

The Swiss Federer, the world number two chasing a second Shanghai crown, rolled back the years to fight back from a set down and defeat Juan Martin del Potro 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The 36-year-old Federer had said that he wanted revenge over the 16th-seeded Argentine for defeat in the quarter-finals at the US Open this summer.

And he got it.

Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion whose career has been blighted by wrist injuries, quickly allayed fears that his latest problem would be a major handicap.

The 29-year-old fell and hurt his left wrist in winning his quarter-final on Friday and there were suggestions he may not even make Saturday's match.

But he showed no ill effects in stunning the pro-Federer crowd to break for 4-2 in the first set.

And Del Potro grasped set point following a thrilling rally that had the spectators whooping, only for 19-time Grand Slam champion Federer to inexplicably shank his volley out of the court.

The second set went with serve until Federer, going after a 94th singles title, made the breakthrough on the Del Potro serve to inch ahead.

Del Potro began showing irritation, engaging in a series of discussions with the umpire, including demanding Federer be warned for triumphantly hitting the ball away after winning the game.

Federer sent the match into a deciding third set and he got the break early to tee up another Nadal meeting.


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