ARGENTINE Juan Martin del Potro recovered from a horrible early fall to overpower David Ferrer 6-2 6-4 7-6(5) and reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time yesterday.
The towering eighth seed said he had been on the verge of pulling out when he injured his already-bandaged left knee after skidding on the fifth point of the match and crashing down in a heap.
But, after lengthy treatment and a pain-killing pill, the 24-year-old former US Open champion returned to the court to produce one of the best displays of his career.
Using his condor-like wingspan to make up for any lack of movement, Del Potro unfolded his right arm to deliver a barrage of mighty serves and thumping forehands. His forehand was unplayable at times and it was fitting that he finally broke the dogged resistance of fourth seed Ferrer with his 22nd clean winner from that flank.
“It was the same thing as my third-round match,” said Del Potro, who injured his knee when falling on Saturday against Grega Zemlja. “I was very close (to pulling out) because I felt a lot of pain in the beginning of the match, it was exactly the same like I did before. I twisted my knee once again and the doctor gave me some magic pills and I could finish the match.”
Del Potro’s medical team will work overtime to patch him up for a semi-final against world No 1 Novak Djokovic tomorrow.
“I think it’s going to be dangerous if I’m not careful in the next few days,” he said. “But I played my best tennis in this tournament so far and I’m so happy to be in the semis.”
All eyes were on Del Potro’s movement in the opening few games and although he looked far from mobile, he banished any worries over his fitness with a brilliant display.
“I played my best forehand ever in this Wimbledon,” Del Potro said. “It was a big performance for me. I am so happy with my level at this moment. I’ve beaten one of the biggest players of the season.”