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Del Potro Too Good For Nishikori; Now For Federer

London, England

del Potro© Getty ImagesJuan Martin del Potro begins to dream of an Olympic medal after beating Kei Nishikori on Thursday in the quarter-finals.

Eighth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro blasted past No. 15 Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 7-6(4) on Thursday for a semi-final berth at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event.

Del Potro will next meet top-seeded Swiss Roger Federer, aiming for his first singles medal at his fourth Olympic Games, on Friday.

Nishikori got off to a slow start, but recovered to 2-2 before he lost his serve again in the eighth game of the first set, which lasted 49 minutes. Del Potro’s decision to attack the net proved decisive, against an opponent who won nine points in total at the net.

In the second set, del Potro served for the match at 5-3. He recovered from 0/40 to 30/40, but double-faulted to hand Nishikori his third break of serve. Nishikori didn’t panic and continued to hit his groundstrokes aggressively to work his way back into the match.

In the tie-break, del Potro raised his game to take a 4-2 lead only for Nishikori to level the score at 4-4. The Japanese star then committed two unforced errors, and, with cries of ‘Argentina, Argentina’ echoing around Court One, del Potro wrapped up victory in one hour and 55 minutes.

Del Potro won 19 of his 24 net points and 21 of 24 points on his second serve. He lost 10 points on his serve in the 66-minute second set. Nishikori committed 16 unforced errors, four fewer than del Potro, who will now be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Argentines.

Gabriela Sabatini won the 1988 Seoul Olympics silver medal in the women’s singles, while Javier Frana and Christian Miniussi captured the men’s doubles bronze medal in Barcelona four years later.

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© Hiroshi Sato

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