NEW YORK — Roger Federer ran into another fearless Spanish-speaking slugger in a sleeveless shirt and bandanna, and the kid put an end to the five-time champion's U.S. Open run.
Juan Martin del Potro, a soft-spoken 20-year-old Argentine, rallied from two sets down to stun the top-ranked Swiss 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 and win his first grand slam title. Federer was going for a sixth straight title here and had won 40 consecutive U.S. Open matches dating to 2003, when he lost to another Argentine, David Nalbandian.
"Ole-Ole-Ole-Ole, DelPo! DelPo!" chanted the Argentine fans in the stands, many of them in light blue and white "Albiceleste" soccer jerseys. Sports fans in Argentina haven't had much to celebrate of late. Their national soccer team is on the brink of not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years. So, del Potro brightened their mood.
"I have two tennis dreams, one was to win the U.S. Open, the other is to be like Roger," the 6-foot-6 del Potro said between tears on the court after the match. "One dream is done. Now, I have to work harder to be like you (looking at Federer), to fight like that until the last point. I don't have words to explain."
Del Potro became the second Argentine man to win the U.S. Open. The other, 1977 champion Guillermo Villas, watched from the stands on Monday.
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