Two former US Open champions will go head to head in a blockbuster fourth-round clash at Flushing Meadows when 2009 winner Juan Martin del Potro faces 2003 victor Andy Roddick.
"I know this is special, this day, for him, but I'm doing my job," said del Potro. "I will try to be focused on my match and doing my things, my shots. The match is going to be very tough. But, anyway, if I play in high level, will be tough for both players. The crowd loves Andy here and they have respect me, so it will be a fantastic show to the players and to the fans also."
In an all-Argentine clash, seventh seed del Potro overcame Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(9). The Tandil native benefitted from 45 unforced errors from his opponent’s racquet and saved two set points in the third set tie-break before claiming victory in three hours and 20 minutes.
Del Potro defeated Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer back-to-back to triumph in New York three years ago. The 23-year-old Argentine was sidelined with wrist surgery the following season, but has returned strongly and compiled a 51-13 match record this year.
The 30-year-old Roddick put his retirement on hold with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Italy’s Fabio Fognini. Roddick was pegged back when Fognini broke serve in the 10th game to take the third set, but hit back in the fourth set to prevail in three hours. The American announced on his 30th birthday that this will be his final tournament.
“This whole process, I'm not trying to over think it. I'm enjoying it,” said Roddick. “I'm trying to be as simplistic as possible. I'm trying to enjoy the process. And when I get out there, [I’m] trying to compete also.”
Roddick won his lone Grand Slam title nine years ago at Flushing Meadows, beating Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final. He was also runner-up to Federer in the 2006 final and has lost out to the Swiss in three Wimbledon finals.
Del Potro takes a 3-1 career lead over Roddick into the meeting, but it was the American who won their most recent meeting in last year’s Memphis semi-finals.
“He's a tough matchup for anybody because he hits such a big ball,” Roddick said. “I'm going to have to serve well, kind of try to rush him a little bit. When he gets into a groove and has time, he'll put a hurt on the ball."
German Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated ninth-seeded American John Isner 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and 20 minutes, in a match that ended at 2:25 a.m. local time, one minute shy of the latest end to a match in US Open history. This year, Isner had lost all four of his Grand Slam championship matches in five sets.
Kohlschreiber, who reached the fourth round for the first time in 10 visits to the US Open, will next play eight seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.