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Olympics 2012: Roger Federer edges Juan Martin del Potro in semis
“It has been a long time coming,” he said.
The wait included an Olympic marathon Friday, when Federer played for four hours, 26 minutes to beat Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17. It was the longest three-set men’s match of the Open era.
“I definitely got a sense that it was something special,” the top-seeded Federer said. “The deeper we went into the match, the more I thought, ‘Wow, this is so cool to be part of a match like this.’”
Federer converted only two of 13 break-point chances, the second coming in the next-to-last game, and had several nervous moments. But he held serve 12 times in the final set to stay in the match.
With the comeback victory, the four-time Olympian is assured at least a silver. On Sunday he’ll play in the final against No. 3 Andy Murray of Britain, who beat No. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia 7-5, 7-5.
Federer and Swiss teammate Stanislas Wawrinka won the gold in doubles in 2008. But Federer had been 0 for 3 in Olympic singles, the biggest blemish on a resume that includes a record 17 Grand Slam championships.
His latest title came at Wimbledon a month ago against Murray, who relishes the shot at a rematch on the same court.
“I hope it’s a great match,” Murray said, “because the way the matches went today, I think the tournament deserves a great final. I hope we can provide that.”
Serena Williams also clinched her first Olympic singles medal, beating No. 1-seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-2. On Saturday, the No. 4-seeded Williams will face first-time Olympian Maria Sharapova, who beat Russian teammate Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-3.
Americans Bob and Mike Bryan are assured at least a silver after beating Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of men’s doubles. Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond advanced to the first Olympics mixed doubles final since 1924 by beating Del Potro and Gisela Dulko 6-2, 7-5.
For duration, Federer’s latest victory didn’t rival John Isner’s 70-68 final-set win at Wimbledon in 2010, or even Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s 25-23 win in the third set at the Olympics this week. But the match offered epic drama magnified by the setting and the stakes for Federer.
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
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