Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Passing the Torch

Midway through the fourth set of yesterday's Federer-del Potro U.S. Open final, I realized Federer was trying everything he could on the day, and he'd probably lose to the 20-year-old del Potro. Going into the match, del Potro had already beaten a hobbled Rafael Nadal, and I knew he had the game to stay with Federer, but it's another thing to win.

The upset reminded me of when Pete Sampras beat my favorite Ivan Lendl at the U.S. Open, ending almost a decade of Lendl dominance in Flushing. It reminded me of when a teenage Federer beat Sampras at Wimbledon. 17-year-old Melanie Oudin's upset of Maria Sharapova echoed a 17-year old Sharapova beating Serena Williams for the 2004 Wimbledon title.

Everyone's time ends the same way. Fresher legs beat all the savvy in the world. While you have the ability and the spotlight, you have to make the most of them.

1 comment:

Graham Powell said...

Del Potro has a cannon of a forehand, and he used it very effectively. At times Federer's efficiency seemed to shake him, but only for a few points at a time. Most of Federer's opponents drop a few games.

What seems to be the biggest change is that Federer has lost the ability to steal your will to live. Used to be, you'd expend a huge amount of energy just to take a set off him, and when you inevitably fell to earth, he crushed you (SEE: Agassi, Roddick, Blake).

Del Potro had the occasional hiccup, but he really hung in there. He played better and deserved to win.