Juan Martin Del Potro produced one of the performances of the season in dismantling newly crowned world number one Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the semi-finals and is well placed at 2/1 to trouble the defending champion in Shanghai, Novak Djokovic.
Nadal had no answer for the power-charged assault from the 2009 US Open winner as the Argentinean reminded the tennis world once more that if anyone is to break the monopoly of the game’s golden quartet he is the man to do it.
This was only the second defeat on a hardcourt this campaign for the Spaniard and the fact that his serve was broken repeatedly throughout is perhaps the clearest indication of how well Del Potro played.
Nadal didn’t lose a single service game until he reached the final at Flushing Meadows and so the fact he was forced to surrender his end three times in the first set alone shows the extent of the pressure exerted from the other side of the net.
Further encouragement for potential Del Potro investors can be found in his route to his fifth final of the season. A hard-fought victory to open against Philipp Kohlschreiber was crucially followed by a bye courtesy of the injured Tommy Haas, giving the historically vulnerable body of Del Potro a rest before sweeping aside Nicolas Almagro in the quarter-finals.
His achievement in overcoming Nadal in the minimum distance will only help his cause against Djokovic and could provide fans with the type of clash enjoyed by all over the summer at Wimbledon.
Djokovic’s deciding set victory against Del Potro at the All-England Club was one of the greatest matches to have been played on the SW19 grass and gave further proof that the established top-four of tennis may have to make room more often in the coming years.
The Serb, currently 2/5, will be rightfully confident having beaten his opponent in nine of their dozen meetings but Del Potro is one of the few players to have registered a victory over the world number two this year and will hold no fears.
Aside from a first set tie-break loss to Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals, Djokovic has had a relatively safe passage to his seventh final of the year and will be desperate to secure another big title after only adding this year’s Australian Open to his Grand Slam tally, despite being in the last two of the draw in every major this term.
Djokovic justifiably starts the match as favourite, but odds of 8/11 that Del Potro wins at least one set makes a lot of appeal considering the level he reached against Nadal and the unflinching belief that he belongs at the highest level.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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