Juan Martin Del Potro made it through to his first Grand Slam quarter-final for over three years’ after his opponent Dominic Thiem retired in the fourth round at the US Open.
The Argentine, who won the silver medal at the Olympics a couple of weeks ago after losing to Andy Murray in the final, needed a wildcard to play the tournament which he won back in 2009 due to his world ranking of 142 - which is a result of a series of wrist injuries.
That number couldn’t be more deceiving and Del Potro is now the third favourite with many bookmakers to win the title in a weeks’ time, behind only Murray and world number one Novak Djokovic.
Del Potro’s passage through to the last eight has been relatively straight forward. The Argentine was on court for just an hour and 12 minutes in his fourth round match, following Thiem’s withdrawal with a knee injury when trailing 6-3, 3-2.
He is still yet to drop a set, after dispatching 11th seed David Ferrer and American Steve Johnson in the earlier rounds, and he will now face either Stan Wawrinka or Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko in the last eight.
An anticipated match
On paper the match up with Thiem was an intriguing prospect. The 22-year-old from Austria has risen up the rankings since the start of the year and still has a real chance of qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London- after climbing to number 10 in the world.
Seed eighth here, the Austrian made an impressive start, breaking Del Potro in the third game of the match with an instinctive backhand lob.
Like many have tried, Thiem searched for success by targeting the Del Potro backhand, fully aware of the firepower that the Argentine possess on his potent forehand wing.
Thiem begins to waver
The Austrian excelled in some lengthy rallies early on, however his discipline soon started to waver and Del Potro broke back to level at 3-3.
Thiem then made an array of forehand errors in the eighth game, which saw him concede his serve again and allowed Del Potro to serve for the set.
The 6 ft 6 Argentine made no mistake – holding his next service game to 0 and finishing with an ace.
Del Potro carried his momentum into the second set, claiming an early break in the third game.
By then Thiem had begun to move a little gingerly and at 3-2 he called for the trainer. The Austrian retired a game later, handing Del Potro the victory.