Roger Federer kept his hopes of landing a first French Open title alive with a dramatic five-set win over fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the semis. The Swiss was outplayed for much of the first three sets but fought back to win 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 2-6 6-1 6-4. Federer, 27, is trying to complete the set of Grand Slam titles and match Pete Sampras’s record of 14 major victories by winning in Paris for the first time. And Federer admitted he had needed to dig deep to edge past the impressive Del Potro.
“I am a bit lucky but I fought – Juan Martin was playing really well,” said Federer, who will equal Ivan Lendl’s all-time record of 19 Grand Slam finals when he takes to the court on Sunday.
“He came out of the blocks really well, with his serve and his forehand really putting me under pressure. He had the upper hand from the baseline and deserved the lead. I can’t remember a five set match that I’ve played that was so moving. It feels great to come through hard matches like these. It is more emotional, more satisfying. And I still feel fine.” The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for Del Potro, who has yet to beat Federer, but the Argentine was able to wish his conqueror well for Sunday’s final.
“At the end of the match I congratulated him and wished him luck. I told him everyone wants him to win the title, I wanted to be in the final, but the match escaped me. I’m very sad about it, I really wanted to be in that final, and now I’m going to have to watch it on TV.”said Del Potro.